5 Things: Bowditch keeps lead; Spieth rises; more
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Steven Bowditch didn't fall victim to a Saturday letdown during the third round of the Valero Texas Open.
A day after taking a one-shot lead, Bowditch was strong again, shooting a 4-under 68 to stretch his advantage to three shots entering Sunday's final round at TPC San Antonio.
Here are 5 Things you need to know from Saturday's third-round action in Texas:
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1. TAKE ANOTHER BOW: Steven Bowditch wasted little time in picking up where he left off Friday.
The Australian chipped in for birdie at the par-4 first hole before holing a pitch shot for eagle at the par-5 second. He added two more birdies and just one bogey, at the par-4 ninth, to wrap up his third-round 68.
Even more impressive was the fact that Bowditch hit just eight greens in regulation Saturday.
Bowditch now has just 18 holes left as he tries for his first PGA Tour victory, a win that would bring with it a Masters berth.
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2. KUCHAR GOES LOW: Matt Kuchar posted his best round of the season Saturday, carding a 7-under 65 to move into a share of second at 9 under.
His previous low round of the season was a 66, which he's achieved twice, in the final round of the McGladrey Classic and the final round of the Sony Open.
Kuchar has four top 10s in seven Tour starts this season, but just one in his past four starts. He was T-38 two weeks ago at the Valspar Championship.
This is Kuchar's third straight start at the Texas Open. He finished T-22 last year and tied for 13th in 2012. Before that, he missed three straight cuts at the event (2008, 07' and '05).
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3. BACK IN TEXAS: Jordan Spieth is competing in a PGA Tour event for the first time as a Tour member this week.
And thanks to a strong Moving Day, the former Texas Longhorn and Dallas native is back in contention.
Spieth shot 4-under 68 Saturday to move into a tie for 14th at 3 under. He made just one bogey, at the par-5 eighth, and followed that with one of his five birdies to close his round.
A first-round 75 put Spieth in danger of missing his second straight cut at TPC San Antonio, but he shot 70 Friday to make the cut and set up a Saturday rally.
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4. MASTERS UPDATE: Ryan Palmer moved closer to earning his Masters invitation with a third-round, 4-under 68 Saturday at TPC San Antonio.
Palmer closed with three birdies in his final five holes and enters Sunday's final round tied for eighth at 5 under.
Ranked 62nd in the Official World Golf Ranking, Palmer needs a T-3 finish or better to move inside the top 50. The top 50 players not already eligible after Sunday receive invitations to Augusta National.
The other Masters hopeful, Chesson Hadley, is T-14 at 3 under. Hadley, ranked 56th in the OWGR, needs a top-7 finish to crack the top 50.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Phil Mickelson withdrew after 10 holes due to a pulled oblique muscle. Mickelson is schedule to play next week's Shell Houston Open. . . . Zach Johnson, searching for his fourth top 10 of the season but first since the Humana Challenge in January, carded a 2-under 70 to move to 5 under.