SAN ANTONIO – 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 – the highest closing score by a winner since Vijay Singh finished with a 4-over 76 in the 2004 PGA Championship – for a one-stroke victory.
“I’m over the moon,” Bowditch said. “I really can’t believe it.”
Bowditch finished at 8-under 280 at TPC San Antonio and earned $1,116,000.
Will MacKenzie and Daniel Summerhays tied for second. MacKenzie shot 70, and Summerhays had a 71.
Chesson Hadley and Ryan Palmer missed chances to get into the Masters through the top 50 in the world ranking. Hadley, the Puerto Rico Open winner, needed at least a sixth-place finish, but closed with an 80 to tie for 56th at 5 over. Palmer needed a top-three finish and had an 82 to also tie for 56th.
Bowditch entered the week 339th in the world and had only two top-10 finishes in eight years on the tour in a career marked by bouts of depression. He won once on the Australasian circuit and twice on the Web.Com Tour.
Bowditch played the front nine in 3-over 39, making a double bogey on the par-4 fourth. He countered a bogey on the par-3 13th with a birdie on the par-5 14th and made three pars before missing a 3-foot par putt and settling for a bogey on 18.
On the par-3 16th, he got up-and-down after missing the green. He pushed his drive on the par-4 17th, hit his approach on the green and two-putted, then pulled his tee shot left on 18, recovered with a shot to the fairway and reached the green in three.
“I just drew back on some experience,” Bowditch said.
MacKenzie made a 13-foot birdie putt on the 17th to pull within a stroke of Bowditch, but the Australian tapped in from 2 feet for his birdie at No. 14 to push the advantage back to two.
Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe shot 75s to tie for fourth at 6-under.
Calgary’s Stephen Ames finished tied for 16th at 1-under 287. The result is his best finish since the 2012 Mayakoba Golf Classic, where he also tied for 16th.
Brights Grove, Ont’s Mike Weir tied for 56th at 5-over 293.