SAN ANTONIO: Australia’s Steven Bowditch scrambled for a four-under 68 on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to stretch his lead to three strokes going into the final round of the US PGA Tour’s Texas Open.
Bowditch, who is seeking a first US tour title, had a 54-hole total of 12-under par 204.
He was three strokes in front of Americans Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe.
Kuchar fired a seven-under 65, the low round of the day, for 207. Loupe could have had sole possession of second place, but bogeyed his last hole for a two-under 70.
American Pat Perez was alone on 208 after a 69 and American Kevin Na’s 69 left him on 209.
Bowditch chipped in at the first two holes for a birdie and an eagle. He added two more birdies and just one bogey, at the par-four ninth, to build on his 36-hole lead.
Bowditch had never held the lead after a round in a PGA Tour event until this week. Now he’s poised to strike for a victory that would earn him a trip to the Masters, where compatriot Adam Scott will be defending the title.
Five-time major champion Phil Mickelson got a Masters scare on Saturday, however, withdrawing after 10 holes saying he had pulled an oblique muscle on a tee shot.