Valero Texas Open: Steven Bowditch increases lead to three shots at TPC San Antonio
Steven Bowditch remains on course for a first PGA Tour success after a third round 68 at the Valero Texas Open.
Last Updated: 29/03/14 11:03pm
The Aussie, just one clear at halfway, carded a four-under 68 in Saturday's third round at TPC San Antonio to reach 12-under and put some daylight between himself and the chasing pack.
Bowditch, who has previously managed just two top 10s in 109 starts on the PGA Tour, leads by three from Ryder Cup star Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe.
The day began in spectacular fashion for Bowditch, who built his score after putting on a chipping masterclass around the greens.
The 30-year-old chipped in for birdie at the first hole and then repeated the feat at the second for an eagle three.
Bowditch continued his hot start with a birdie at the fifth and, despite cooling down with a bogey at the ninth, avoided any further mishaps after saving par with two more excellent stone-dead chips at the 11th and 13th.
Another exquisite greenside chip at the short par four 17th set up a birdie to return him to 12-under and he just missed another at 18 from 13 feet.
Low round of the week
Kuchar, meanwhile, jumped 14 places to tied second after producing the low round of the week - a seven-under 65.
The American holed from sand for an opening birdie and added four more on the front nine for an outward 31.
He followed another at 12 with his only dropped shot of the day at 13 before closing with birdies at 17 and 18 for his 65.
Despite conditions not being as severe as over the first two days, Kuchar said later: "It still wasn't easy. The wind was up, it was blowing 15 to 20 for most of the day. A complete opposite wind so it was a real kind of learning experience for all of to figure out how to play. I navigated it pretty well out there today."
Loupe mixed five birdies and three bogeys in his round of 70 but lost ground on Bowditch after missing a par putt from inside four feet at the last.
Two more Americans - Pat Perez and Kevin Na - remain very much in the hunt.
Perez fired a 69 to move into solo fourth on eight-under while Na is a further shot back after also carding three-under.
Zach Johnson is the only major winner in the top 10 and will have to come from seven back on Sunday after a 70 left him at five-under.
Phil Mickelson withdrew from the tournament after pulling a muscle in his side on his 11th hole of the day.