The Upshot: Valero Texas Open, Round 2
March 28, 2014
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
- Steven Bowditch had never held a lead after a round on the PGA TOUR, but he does now. (Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO – A double-bogey on his final hole Friday couldn’t keep Steven Bowditch out of the lead at the Valero Texas Open. Bowditch shot 67 on Friday despite his stumble on the closing hole, finishing 36 holes at 8-under 136, one shot ahead of Chad Collins, who shot a tournament-low 66, and rookie Andrew Loupe, who held the first-round lead with a 67.
"It's a 72-hole tournament and I just did it on the 36th hole, made a double-bogey," Bowditch said. "It's going to happen out here."
Bowditch also had five birdies and an eagle, holing out an 83-yard wedge shot on the par-4 12th hole, his third of the day.
“I’m not making many putts at the moment, so most of my birdies have been sort of coming inside of 6 or 5 feet,” said Bowditch, who’s 155th in the FedExCup. “I’ve hit a lot of good wedge shots. I made a couple good par saves on my back nine this afternoon, but all in all it’s been more of hitting my approach shots pretty close.”
This is the first time Bowditch has led at the end of a round on the PGA TOUR. Bowditch, 30, has made the cut in seven of 12 starts this season, but a T-19 at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is his only top 25 of the season.
“My putter has really been a big problem this year,” said Bowditch, who ranks 145th in strokes gained-putting. “I’ve been fighting that, but ballstriking-wise has been pretty good.”
There was no fog delay Friday at TPC San Antonio. High winds blew in the afternoon, though, making things difficult for the afternoon wave. Only five of the top 14 players on the leaderboard played Friday afternoon; Pat Perez was low man in the afternoon wave, shooting 5 under for 36 holes. Freddie Jacobson posted 4 under, while Will MacKenzie, Aaron Baddeley and Zach Johnson finished at 3 under.
Some players estimated that the half of the field that teed off late Friday and early Thursday were at a 4-shot disadvantage to the other half of the field.
“At the turn, it started blowing 30 (mph) and it was very difficult,” Perez said. “We were just trying to get it in with a decent score and give ourselves a chance to catch the leaders tomorrow.”
It's getting breezy at the TPC San Antonio! Gonna change the game for the late starts!— nick russo (@Kingnickrusso) March 28, 2014
SNEAKING BY: Phil Mickelson wasn’t the only big name to sneak into the weekend. FedExCup leader Jimmy Walker also made the cut on the number. Walker shot 1-under 71 on Friday.
“I actually drove it really well, which was kind of sad,” Walker said. “Usually that’s not my strong suit. It was just chipping and putting this week, so I know what to work on going into next week, and what to hammer down on.”
Former Valero Texas Open champion David Ogrin was slightly off in his prediction of where the cut would land, but he took to Twitter to praise Walker’s game:
LEFTY'S MAGIC: Mickelson had to get up-and-down from the water to make the cut, and that's exactly what he did on No. 18, knocking it to 5 feet and converting his birdie putt.
(Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
TAKING ADVANTAGE: Cameron Beckman is making the most of his sponsor exemption into the Valero Texas Open, at least thus far. He is T-4 after shooting 69-70 in the first two rounds at TPC San Antonio. His house is a 2-minute drive from the course.
Beckman, a three-time PGA TOUR winner, only has past champion’s status on TOUR. He’s made just three previous starts this season, making two cuts but finishing no better than 37th. He’s missed the cut in all three of his Web.com Tour starts in 2014, though he opened each of his past two Web.com starts with 68.
Beckman said he is feeling pressure to take advantage of this opportunity as he seeks to regain full TOUR status.
“I could tell I was real tight on the front (nine). When you don’t get a lot of starts, it’s a whole different ballgame. You can’t just say, relax. I’m happy with the start and looking forward to the weekend,” he said. “(The pressure) helps me focus.”
RALLY CAP: Jordan Spieth was 6 over on his first seven holes this week. He salvaged a 75 in the first round, then shot 2-under 70 in Friday’s tougher afternoon wave to make the cut with two shots to spare.
His rally was helped by an approach shot on No. 4 that ricocheted off of a gallery rope right of the green and rolled 8 feet from the pin. He made the birdie putt.
“(The rope) was probably a yard or two off the right side of the green,” Spieth said. “Very rarely in my career will I hit ropes. It’s almost impossible to hit a rope.”
IN THE LOUPE: Loupe has only played eight tournaments in his rookie PGA TOUR season, but already has held the first-round lead twice. He played the final seven holes of his first round Friday morning after play was suspended due to darkness after a 2 1/2-hour fog delay. His first-round 67 gave him a one-shot lead. He had less than an hour to prepare for his second round, but still shot 70.
Loupe missed his first five cuts this season, then opened the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am with a 63 en route to a T-27 finish. He finished 12th in his next start, at the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com.
CALL OF THE DAY: Mark Immelman calls Pat Perez's near ace at the par-3 16th hole in the second round of the Valero Texas Open. Live play-by-play coverage of the third round streams from 12-6 p.m. ET Saturday on PGATOUR.COM.
SAN ANTONIO SUCCESS STORY: Freddie Jacobson has finished no worse than 18th in four starts at TPC San Antonio, including two top-five finishes. He’s halfway to another strong result. The Swede shot 70-70 and is in sixth place.
Jacobson made a 55-foot birdie putt on the 11th hole and eagled the par-5 14th after hitting a 268-yard second shot to 6 feet.