SAN ANTONIO — Steven Bowditch won his first PGA Tour title Sunday at the Valero Texas Open, finishing one shot ahead of Will MacKenzie and Daniel Summerhays. Bowditch finished at 8-under 280 after a final-round 76.
Bowditch’s final-round score was the highest by a winner since Vijay Singh at the 2004 PGA Championship. The field averaged 73.8 on a windy Sunday at TPC San Antonio.
Bowditch moved from 155th to 26th in the FedExCup with his win. He also earned his first Masters invitation; the Aussie will make his Masters debut the same year that Adam Scott defends the country’s first Masters victory. A trio of Australians — John Senden, Aaron Baddeley and Scott Gardiner — greeted Bowditch near the 18th green to congratulate him on his victory. Senden, winner of the recent Valspar Championship, was fittingly wearing a white Masters t-shirt.
Bowditch started the final round with a three-shot lead over Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe. Bowditch and Kuchar were tied entering the back nine, but Kuchar made bogey on three of the first five holes and shot a back-nine 39. Kuchar and Loupe tied for fourth at 6 under par after both shooting 75 on Sunday.
MacKenzie moved to 11th in the FedExCup after posting his fifth top-10 in 13 starts this season. This was MacKenzie’s third top-6 finish in his past four starts.
Leaderboard: Steven Bowditch 69-67-68-76 – 280 (-8); Will MacKenzie 69-72-70-70 – 281 (-7); Daniel Summerhays 72-68-70-71 – 281 (-7); Matt Kuchar 70-72-65-75 – 282 (-6); Andrew Loupe 67-70-70-75 – 282 (-6)
— Wins for the first time in 110 career starts on the PGA Tour. His previous best finish was a T2 at last year’s The Greenbrier Classic.
— He earns 500 FedExCup points with his victory and is now 26th on the season-long points list with 626 points.
— He becomes the third Australian native to win on the PGA Tour this year, joining Jason Day (WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship) and John Senden (Valspar Championship).
— He earns a check for $1,116,000, the largest of his professional career. His previous best was $415,800 at last year’s The Greenbrier Classic where he was T2.
— He won twice on the Web.com Tour — 2005 Jacob’s Creek Open Championship and 2010 Soboba Golf Classic. He also won the 2010 New South Wales PGA Championship.
— With his victory, Bowditch earns the second-to-last “win-and-you’re-in” invitation to the Masters Tournament in two weeks. He also earns fully-exempt status on the PGA Tour through 2016.
— With the win, Bowditch becomes the fourth consecutive Valero Texas Open winner to earn a berth in the Masters with his victory.
— His final-round 4-over-par 76 was the highest score by a winner since Vijay Singh posted a similar score at the 2004 PGA Championship.
— Bowditch becomes the 17th Texas resident to win the Valero Texas Open. Bowditch now resides in Dallas.
— Bowditch was 1-over-par on the front nine and 9-under-par on the back nine for the tournament.
— Bowditch’s best finish coming into this event for the 2013-‘14 PGA Tour Season was a T19 at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
— Bowditch was born on June 8, 1983 in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.
— With his T2 finish on Sunday, he matches his best finish in 96 starts on the PGA Tour which came at last year’s Sanderson Farms where he lost in a playoff with eventual winner Woody Austin and Cameron Beckman.
— At one point early in his back nine in the third round, he trailed the leaders by 10 strokes before closing with rounds of 70-71.
— He continues to enjoy the most productive year of his career and play some of his best golf of the 2013-’14 Season. With his final-round 70, he finished T2, his third top-10 finish in his last four starts (T6 Honda Classic/T4 Valspar Championship) and increased his season earnings to a career-best $1,782,250.
— With his three top-10 finishes in his last four starts, MacKenzie has earned 455 points in the FedExCup race in that span and moved from 25th to 11th with 880 points.
— MacKenzie had the fewest putts of any player in the field this week – 101.
— Despite a final-round 75, rookie Andrew Loupe finished T4, the first top-10 finish in his brief PGA Tour career. This was just his ninth career start on Tour for the former LSU golfer.
— A year after finishing T3 at the Valero Texas Open, Jim Furyk claimed a T6 finish on Sunday.
— Brendon Todd posted the day’s low round, a 4-under-par 68 which helped him finish T6. It was just his second top-10 finish of the season. The former University of Georgia product was T6 at January’s Humana Challenge. Todd rebounded with successive rounds of 68 on the weekend to move up from a T69 after 36 holes. He also made 19 birdies in four rounds along with Jimmy Walker and Andrew Loupe. The 19 birdies by the trio led all players.
— Jordan Spieth, the 2013 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, bounced back from an opening-round 3-over-par 75 (T108) with scores of 70-68-71 to finish 10th at 4-under-par 284. Spieth had bogeyed six of his first seven holes in round one, but played his final 65 holes at 10-under-par.
— After shooting a 4-over-par 76 in the first round, FedExCup point’s leader and local resident Jimmy Walker shot rounds of 71-71-69 to improve from T119 to a T16. Walker was one of three players to lead in total birdies with 19.
— With much windier conditions on Sunday at the TPC San Antonio, the field scoring average was 73.803, the highest final-round scoring average since the event moved here in 2010. Overall, the average was 73.286 for the four rounds. Just two players had rounds in the 60s (Brendon Todd & Jimmy Walker) and only 14 foinished below par, 18 fewer than on Saturday.
— The Valero Texas Open and Benefit for Children have raised a combined $9 million that will be distributed to children’s charities across the country, Valero and Valero Texas Open officials announced on Sunday. It puts the Valero Texas Open closer to the “Drive to $100 Million” milestone. Since its title sponsorship began in 2002, Valero has helped raise a total of $90.5 million.