By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Colonial is generally regarded as favoring the shorter, accurate hitter than the big bomber. But Steven Bowditch, one of the PGA TOUR's longer drivers, is having no problems scoring well on a course he's never played before.
The Australian posted a 6-under 64 in Friday's second round of the Crowne Plaze Invitational at Colonial, and is 9 under through 36 holes, which left him near the top of the leaderboard. His 64 tied for the lowest shot by any player in Friday's morning wave; past Colonial champion Rory Sabbatini and Lucas Glover also posted 64s on Friday.
Bowditch ranks fifth on the PGA TOUR in driving distance this year, and 168th in driving accuracy at 52.66 percent. His accuracy hasn't been that much better through the first two rounds -- he's at 57 percent, having hit 16 of 28 fairways -- but his putting stroke has allowed him to minimize his mistakes.
He's rolled in five putts outside 15 feet, including three on Friday. His birdie putt at the sixth was for 29 feet, and two holes later, he poured in a putt from outside 21 feet. He also birdied the 14th with an 18-footer.
"Personally I don't think I really felt like I played as good as I did yesterday tee to green," Bowditch said. "But I just made some putts. That's basically what it comes down to. ... I didn't play that well, but it was nice to make some putts."
Bowditch lives in the Dallas area since moving from Australia to the United States in 2005. But he has never played Colonial. He did walk the course a couple of years with his current swing coach, Scott Hamilton.
"That's the closest I've been until Monday," Bowditch said.
Being unfamiliar with the course hasn't phased him, though. Neither is he worried about Colonial favoring shorter hitters, either. He's still pulling out driver whenever it's called for.
"If you hit it straight, it doesn't matter how far you hit it," he said. "That's basically what it comes down to. I am taking a lot of drivers. My Cleveland has been really good to me the last few months. It's perfect. I'm confident with it. There is not much more I can do. Aim and hit."
Last year on the Nationwide Tour, Bowditch won the Soboba Golf Classic and finished the year 17th on the money list to earn his TOUR card for the first time since 2006.
In his third start of this year, he shot three consecutive 69s in the last three rounds to finish tied for 9th at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. That's his best result to date, although he did finish inside the top 30 in his last start, the Wells Fargo Championship.
Even though he's been grinding for awhile -- he turned pro when he was 18; he's now 27 -- he thinks his best years are ahead of him.
"It's just a process," he said. "You learn, you make mistakes. I'm not even 28 yet. So it's not that big a deal. The career hasn't really started."