Bowditch increases lead in Texas Open

Steven Bowditch of Australia scrambled for a 4-under-par 68 to take a three-stroke lead over Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe heading to the final round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas.

Bowditch hit only 8-of-18 greens in regulation, but chipped and putted well enough to record three birdies, an eagle on the second hole and only a single bogey, at No. 9. He started birdie-eagle, holing out from off the green for both.

“My ball-striking was not as good as it was the first two rounds, but I was able to get the ball in the hole,” said Bowditch, who has five victories as a pro, but none on the PGA Tour.

” … Tomorrow, I’ll have to hit it a little more solid and hit more fairways and greens.”

Kuchar, easily the most decorated player among the leaders with six PGA Tour victories, birdied five of the first seven holes and the last two while posting the low round of the day, a 65 that included one bogey, at No. 13.

The 25-year-old Loupe, who has never won as a pro, was within one shot of the lead until making bogeys on two of the last three holes to card his second straight 70.

Pat Perez of San Diego and Arizona State shot 69 was four strokes back in fourth, one shot ahead of  Kevin Na of Diamond Bar, who also had a 69.

Phil Mickelson, who made the cut on the number with a birdie on his final hole of the second round, withdrew because of a pulled oblique muscle after 10 holes in round three. He was 1-over for the day and 4-over for the tournament and in danger of missing the secondary cut.

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