2006: Bowden bound for PGA Tour

Moosic, Pa.

Craig Bowden knew exactly what he needed to win his third career Nationwide Tour title. And not just the way he needed to play, but the exact number.

Bowden, 38, headed into the final round at the Northeast Pennslyvania Classic seven shots off the lead, and predicted he would need an 8-under 63 to win.

He got the 63, but needed a little extra time on the course to pick up the title, beating Jess Daley on the first playoff hole at Glenmaura National Golf Club.

“This is what we play for,” said Bowden, who was second at the Cox Classic Aug. 6. “We play for a chance to give yourself an opportunity to win a tournament by making a putt on the last hole. It’s storybook stuff.”

Ranked No. 156 in driving distance on the tour, Bowden had to rely on his short game to carry him through the final round. To go along with a couple of front-nine birdies, Bowden added a chip-in eagle on No. 6 to get within striking distance. And after three-putting for bogey on the par-3 15th, he holed a wedge from the 17th fairway and followed it with a birdie.

“I didn’t see it,” Bowden said of his eagle. “It landed right next to the hole and I knew it was going to be good. I just didn’t know how much spin it would have. The crowd just went crazy.”

Bowden, who has been off and on the PGA Tour three times (1997, 2000-01, 2004), all but solidified his return to the big stage with the victory. The top 20 players on the Nationwide Tour money list earn their 2007 PGA Tour cards and Bowden’s winner’s check of $85,500 moved him to second.

Dashed hopes: For the second time in two seasons, Brandt Snedeker’s PGA Tour dreams may be decided in a doctor’s office instead of on the golf course.

Snedeker, a third-year Nationwide Tour player who was slowed last season by a rib injury, tripped over a root while staying at his agent’s home in Sea Island, Ga., Aug. 6 and broke his right collarbone.

Snedeker earned his breakthrough victory in July at the Scholarship America Showdown. He appeared poised to earn his first trip to the PGA Tour, but will be sidelined for at least four weeks while the injury heals.

Snedeker also was awaiting the results of a CT scan he underwent Aug. 17. Although there was no muscle or rotator cuff damage, he may have to undergo surgery if two bones in his shoulder fail to heal correctly.

“If they heal too close together they’ll have to go in and shave off a little,” Snedeker said.

In the meantime, Snedeker is relegated to therapy sessions three times per week in Nashville, Tenn., and hopelessly watching the Nationwide Tour money list. Snedeker was seventh on the money list when he was injured but has dropped to No. 11 with $187,522 in earnings. He estimates he’ll need about $210,000 to earn his 2007 Tour card.

“The first week I was a little depressed to be honest,” said Snedeker, who could return as early as Sept. 21 for the Oregon Classic. “It’s late in the year and it was just the wrong time. But hopefully it all happens for a reason.”

Short shots: While Jess Daley held the 54-hole lead in Pennsylvania, his fraternity brother at Northwestern University, Luke Donald, was tied for the 54-hole lead at the PGA Championship. . . . Chez Reavie has only had one top 10 this season (a tie for sixth at the Peek’n Peak Classic), but he has been consistent in his first two seasons on the Nationwide Tour. In his career, Reavie has never missed a cut in 16 events. He has made 13 cuts this year and three in 2005, but did not play in Pennsylvania. . . . Cliff Kresge (8-iron) had the sixth ace in the tournament’s history on the 180-yard, ninth hole in the first round. . . . Aaron Barber (5-iron) followed with a hole-in-one on the same hole during Round 2. . . . Mike Perez and Bill Mullen were disqualified for signing incorrect scorecards after the first round, but the mistake wasn’t discovered until Friday morning. Jon Turcott also was DQ’d Friday for not signing his card after the round. . . . Gavin Coles withdrew during Friday’s round (hip injury).

– Rex Hoggard and wire reports

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