Sport

Keep the faith

TOUGH TIMES: After a disappointing season Australian golfer Steven Bowditch could be forced into the PGA Qualifying School next week.
TOUGH TIMES: After a disappointing season Australian golfer Steven Bowditch could be forced into the PGA Qualifying School next week. DAVE HUNTAAP

GOLF: The former swing coach of US-based Peregian Beach professional Steven Bowditch has urged fans to keep faith with the prodigiously talented big hitter.

Tewantin Noosa Golf Club pro Shane Healey believes a "breakthrough" performance is the only thing preventing his former pupil from realising his undoubted potential.

Bowditch will likely head back to the PGA Tour's white-knuckle Qualifying School in the US this week after a disastrous PGA Tour season-ending event.

The 29-year-old needed to finish at least second at the Children's Miracle Hospitals Classic at the Magnolia Golf Club in Florida.

He came home last.

Bowditch followed an opening-round 10-over 82 with a 74 yesterday morning.

Healey, who coached Bowditch in his formative years and has closely monitored his career since, said: "I talk to people all the time and I think it's just a matter of him getting that breakthrough performance - and then it could escalate from there. It's yet to happen, unfortunately."

Having played under a conditional status this year after losing his card in 2011, the Q School is his last chance of qualifying for the tour next year. The second of the school's three events will be played this week at the TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas.

Healey said it was frustrating to watch Bowditch struggle to establish himself on the world's premier circuit.

"Everyone knows how naturally gifted and talented he is," the veteran pro said.

"I guess we all expected more than what he does. Maybe we expect too much.

"It's such a tough tour nowadays. There's so much depth.

"What most people don't realise is his official earnings last year were $680,000 and he still missed his card."

Bowditch, who is married to an American, split his time between the secondary Web.com Tour and the PGA Tour this year.

He went into the Florida event in 205th place on the PGA Tour money list with earnings of $206,768.

The top 125 earners are exempt for next year, with the next best 25 gaining conditional status. Bowditch played 18 PGA Tour events this year and made only five cuts. He unsuccessfully contested the final stage of the Q School last year.



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