Success in PGA at last Bowditch in breakthrough
HE is slowly winning his battle against depression, and Peregian Beach's Steven Bowditch has just won for the first time on the PGA Tour, taking out the Texas Valero Open in San Antonio.
Starting the final round with a three-shot buffer, the 30-year-old fired four-over par final round to finish at eight-under overall, one clear of Americans Will Mackenzie and Daniel Summerhays.
The victory earned him $A1.2million, a spot in this month's Masters at Augusta, and a two-year exemption on the Tour.
"I'm over the moon," he said.
"Not very often you shoot 76 and win a golf event. I'm just thrilled that I had enough cushion."
Bowditch, a spokesman for Australian non-profit group beyondblue, which promotes awareness of depression, has endured a well-documented battle with the illness.
"I don't think I'll ever overcome it. You just deal with it on a day-to-day basis and learn, learn about yourself and move on forward," he said.
Bowditch also praised the support of his wife Amanda, saying, "She is my biggest supporter and she is
always there through the ups and downs"."Amanda is the love of my life, she is my wife and I love her dearly, and I wouldn't be sitting up here talking to you guys without her."
THE US Masters will be Bowditch's first major since 2003, when he missed the cut at the British Open.
He has never set foot on the Georgia course's famed fairways but knows the layout well enough.
"The only time I played it has been on the Play Station," he said. "So I think I know a few of the breaks."
"I'm excited but I haven't really thought about it. I don't even know how to get there.
"I'm just going to enjoy this (win) for the next couple of days and get my mind back on track."
Bowditch carded rounds of 69, 67, 68 and 76 to claim victory at TPC San Antonio, in conditions which suited him. "I do practise around Dallas a lot; that's where I live, and to see this kind of weather is not unusual at all, so it's been a big benefit," he said.
"And where I grew up in Noosa is the same, back home in Australia, it's pretty windy ... so I was sort of accustomed to it.
Bowditch, who was ranked 339th in the world before his triumph at San Antonio, made his US PGA Tour debut in 2003.
Renowned for his obvious talent and long but somewhat inaccurate driving, he had only finished in the top-10 twice in 109 outings before yesterday.