IT’S great to see Stephen Bowditch back on the US PGA Tour and celebrating his return to Australia with a tenacious win in Wollongong on the weekend.
The 27 year old took the 2010 Cellarbrations NSW PGA Championship by two shots at the Wollongong Golf Club by two strokes from New Zealander Gareth Paddison on Sunday.
He finished at 17 under after a fighting final round battling strong winds, some fast finishing opponents and a shoulder injury.
I remember seeing Bowditch at a recent Australian Open looking dejected – or maybe they are the sorts of perceptions you project when you know someone is suffering severe depression – and wondering what had happened to his promising career.
Well, after finishing 17th on the money list on the US Nationwide Tour this year, the former Newcastle boy is back on the main US tour – with all the monetary and other opportunities it offers.
“I honestly didn’t think the title was mine till the end, but I’m honoured to have won the NSW PGA Championship,” Bowditch said after his Wollongong win.
“It was a fantastic golf course and Cellarbrations have been a huge supporter of Australian golf, and I’ve also been lucky enough to have them on board as a personal sponsor.”
“After a great year in the states it was one of my goals to come home and really compete in our big events and this is a great stepping stone.”
The PGA Tour of Australasia will now head to the NSW Hunter Valley for the staging of next week’s 2010 NSW Open hosted by Nathan Green at The Vintage Golf Club.
During the second round in Wollongong, Bowditch was 10 under and threatening to run away with the tournament when he put his drive on the 11th into the scrub beside the beach.
The resulting double bogey was compounded when he missed a short par putt for another bogey on the next hole, the par-3 12th.
Because of a hold-up in play, Bowditch had what seemed an awfully long time to contemplate the situation – and the Wollongong Lighthouse.
With a very narrow fairway landing area fringed by more coastal scrub on the par-4 13th his two playing companions played it safe and went with a utility and a long iron.
A very determined Bowditch pulled out his driver and smacked one right down the middle, just a comparatively short chip from the green.
A chip and a putt and he had his fifth birdie for the round and was back on track. That is the way he is playing.