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Kuchar, 3 back, chasing lead at TPC San Antonio

Final Round Preview – PGA Tour – Valero Texas Open – TPC San Antonio – San Antonio, Texas –

Through 54 holes, it seems like the “stars are aligned” for Aussie Steven Bowditch at the PGA Tour’s Valero Texas Open.

Bowditch managed to ham-and-egg his way around TPC San Antonio in round three to maintain his lead in a quest for his maiden PGA Tour victory. At 12-under overall, he carded a 4-under tally Saturday to earn himself a three-shot cushion heading into Sunday.

A long-shot to win the championship – 250-to-1 – heading into the week according to www.skybet.com, Bowditch is playing the final round with former PLAYERS champion Matt Kuchar.

Kuchar, who is No. 11 in the Official World Golf Ranking, posted the round of the week Saturday at 7-under-65. With 61 career Top 10s in his PGA Tour, he is a veteran. He won the WGC-Match Play a year ago along with the Memorial Tournament.

Kuch was a 15-1 pick to start the week and the favorite Sunday even though he trails Bowditch by three strokes.

Winds and conditions are expected to impact play Sunday. But, that did not effect Bowditch Saturday when opened with a chip-in birdie at No. 1 and then another chip-in at No. 2, which was for eagle. Later in the round, he knifed a recovery shot through a fork in a tree 20 feet in front of him to continue his impressive round.

Bowditch, 339th in the world ranking, has just two career PGA Tour Top 10s including a runner-up at The Greenbrier Classic last season. He entered this week with missed cuts in three of his last four starts. His best effort this season is a T-19 at Pebble Beach.

If the lead group comes back to the field a bit, several chasers are still in the mix including Andrew Loupe (9-under), Pat Perez (8-under) and Kevin Na (7-under). Perez and Na both have PGA Tour victories on their resumes. And, Na was runner-up at Valsar Championship two weeks ago when he was first in Fairways In Regulation.

A low round by a player out ahead of the lead group – from Zach Johnson (T-8 at 5-under) for example – could sit back to find his way into a playoff.

Other Golf News:

  • Jim Furyk is looking for his fourth Top 25 of 2014, but the veteran has yet to challenge for a victory. Spieth, with a strong finish, would log his fourth Top 10 this season.
  • Cristie Kerr and Lizette Salas (10-under) lead a host of players heading into the final round of the Kia Classic on the LPGA Tour. Dori Carter and Shanshan Feng are 8-under, while Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson headline a group at just three back.
  • Phil Mickelson withdrew Saturday from the Valero Texas Open citing an oblique injury. His caddie has Lefty felt pain in his side after a hard driver swing. To be safe and ready himself for the Masters, Mickelson pulled out of the tournament and will have a medical test in San Diego. His status is questionable for the Shell Houston Open, yet he did attend the San Antonio Spurs NBA game with his daughter that evening.
  • Wells Fargo extended its title sponsorship with the PGA Tour to host the Wells Fargo Championship through 2019. Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte hosts the event in May.
  • Ryan Palmer and Chesson Hadley need to close with strong finishes at TPC San Antonio to earn a Top 50 world ranking and an invitation to the Masters in two weeks.