Dallas - Steven Bowditch, an Australian who has made his home in Texas,
upstaged native son Jordan Spieth on Thursday, grabbing a two-shot lead in the
Byron Nelson Championship with a sparkling 62.
Bowditch, seeking a second victory on the USPGA Tour, had eight birdies in
his eight-under effort and a two-stroke lead over American Jimmy Walker, who
had seven birdies and a bogey in his six-under 64.
Americans Ryan Palmer and James Hahn shared third on 65, with Tom Gillis,
John Merrick and 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley a further stroke
back on 66.
Spieth, the 21-year-old Masters champion, settled for a one-under 69 that
left him tied for 33rd.
Bowditch's round matched his best ever on the US tour.
He set the tone early, rolling in a 24-foot birdie putt at his opening hole.
He drained birdie putts of 30, 29 and 18 feet and said his decision to add a
little weight to his putter on Thursday had helped him produce the best putting
round of his PGA career.
"I typically don't make a lot of longer putts," Bowditch said.
Bowditch said keeping it in the fairway was also key on the rain-soaked TPC
Four Seasons course.
"I stayed aggressive, kept hitting drivers and getting them on the golf
course," he said. "The greens are great. They are soft but you can
still make some putts out there."
Spieth's sensational victory at Augusta National made him the first Texan to
win a major title since Justin Leonard won the 1997 British Open.
He's been the focus of adoring attention both at last week's Colonial in
nearby Fort Worth and this week at the tournament he first played as a
"Not a whole lot you can do with only two birdies in the round,"
said Spieth, who also had one bogey.
Bowditch ended up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by chance, saying he
"basically threw a dart at the map" when he decided to set up a US
base in 2005.
He met his wife in Texas and has now lived here a decade, saying with a
smile: "I'm stuck now."
Fittingly, his only win on the US Tour came at San Antonio last year, when
he was one of three Aussies to notch a Texas win along with Matt Jones in
Houston and Adam Scott at Colonial.
Leading first-round scores on Thursday in the US PGA Tour $7.1 million Byron Nelson Championship (USA unless noted, par-70):
62 - Steven Bowditch (AUS)
64 - Jimmy Walker
65 - James Hahn, Ryan Palmer
66 - Tom Gillis, John Merrick, Keegan Bradley
- Derek Ernst , Dustin Johnson, Steve Wheatcroft, Tony Finau, Danny Lee
(NZL), Jon Curran, John Senden (AUS), Jonas Blixt (SWE), Ken Duke, Nick
Watney, Martin Flores, Jonathan Byrd, Cameron Percy (AUS)
Charles Howell, Michael Thompson, Hunter Mahan, Colt Knost, Erik
Compton, Joe Affrunti, Byron Smith, Mark Anderson, Will Wilcox, Boo
Weekley, S.J. Park (KOR), Jerry Kelly