March 31, 2014 in Sports

Bowditch earns first PGA title

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Steven Bowditch won the Texas Open and a spot in the Masters.
(Full-size photo)

Steven Bowditch held on to win the Texas Open in windy conditions Sunday for his first PGA Tour victory and a spot in the Masters.

The 30-year-old Australian bogeyed the par-5 18th for a 4-over 76 for a one-stroke victory in San Antonio.

“I’m over the moon. I really can’t believe it,” said Bowditch, who attempted suicide in 2006 and has fought depression throughout his career.

It was the highest closing score by a winner since Vijay Singh finished with a 4-over 76 in the 2004 PGA Championship, and the highest in a non-major since Fred Couples had a 5-over 77 in the 1983 Kemper Open.

Bowditch finished at 8-under 280 at TPC San Antonio and earned $1,116,000.

“Every time I got out of check, looking ahead to the Masters and winning golf events and making my speeches before I was finished, I had to pull myself in check every time,” said Bowditch, wearing a green shirt. “And it happened a lot today.”

Bowditch, based in Dallas, entered the week 339th in the world and had only two top-10 finishes in eight years on the tour. He won once on the Australasian circuit and twice on the Web.Com Tour.

“He’s been a battler. He’s gone through a lot in his life,” said John Senden, a fellow Australian who won the Valspar Championship two weeks ago.

Senden waited about an hour after his round to shake Bowditch’s hand.

“That last putt wasn’t his best, but to finish it off he was as cool as a cucumber really,” Senden said. “I’m proud to be his mate.”

Will MacKenzie and Daniel Summerhays tied for second. MacKenzie shot 70, and Summerhays had a 71.

Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe shot 75s to tie for fourth at 6-under.

LPGA

Anna Nordqvist rallied to win the Kia Classic at Aviara in Carlsbad, Calif., for her second victory in her last four LPGA Tour starts.

Two strokes behind leaders Cristie Kerr and Lizette Salas entering the round, Nordqvist closed with her second straight 5-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over Salas, who birdied the 18th for a 70.

Nordqvist won the LPGA Thailand last month to end a five-year victory drought, holding off top-ranked Inbee Park. The 26-year-old Swede also won the LPGA Championship and LPGA Tour Championship in 2009.

Projected to jump from 16th to ninth in the world, Nordqvist finished at 13-under 275 and earned $255,000.

Lexi Thompson was third at 11 under after a 68.

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