Australia’s Steven Bowditch has sailed to a four-shot win in the Byron Nelson Championship in Texas, clinching his second US PGA Tour victory in as many years and putting a full stop to a black period of serious depression.
The 31-year-old accelerated away from the field at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas with a commanding final round 64 to finish 18 under the card.
He shut out Americans Charlie Hoffman, Jimmy Walker and Scott Pinckney who tied for second.
Victorian Cameron Percy, who at one point was challenging for the win, eventually finished 10 under in a major boost for his season.
The victory brought back cheerful memories for Bowditch, who was married at the venue and also won the Texas Open in San Antonio in his adopted home state in 2014.
The circumstances were once very different for the Australian though, bleak enough that he once tried to kill himself, trying to drown himself in his own pool in 2006 after bouts of depression, binge drinking and eating.
Golf World ran a 2009 profile by Jim Moriarty which said in part: “Desperate to switch his mind off, he chugged an entire bottle of Scotch and slept for two days. When he woke up, he says, he put on all his heavy clothes to serve as a woollen anchor weighing down his muscular body, walked to the pool of his Dallas condominium and tried to drown himself.
“Discovered floating in the water by his then-girlfriend, he had very nearly succeeded. She resuscitated him, and he was transported to a hospital. When he got out, he flew home for help.
From the same profile Bowditch wrote:
“I would sit in the locker room ’til two minutes before my tee time and run out and play,” he says. “If everyone was hitting balls on the left side of the range, I’d go all the way to the end just because I didn’t want to be around anyone. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. When people would talk to me, I didn’t even know they were talking. I couldn’t work out why.
“I wouldn’t sleep or eat from Monday to Wednesday and then I’d eat all day Thursday as much as I could,” he says. “I had it in my mind this was my routine.”
Bowditch describes himself as a binge drinker, if an infrequent one, in his schoolboy days. During the ’05 season he began self-medicating with alcohol.
“I would finish the pro-am at midday. I would start drinking at one o’clock in the afternoon and go all the way until five o’clock in the morning and tee it up in the tournament at seven o’clock on the first tee. Go home, have an afternoon sleep and do it again. And that went on for six weeks,” he says. “I realized in June or July that I was doing it every day. That was my only escape from the person that I was.”
Thankfully the scene is very different now, as Bowditch explained after his win at the weekend: “We took some wedding pictures here at TPC so it is a special place and I get to take some more pictures here.”
He married his Texan wife Amanda at the Dallas area golf resort in 2011.
Bowditch started the day with a two-stroke lead. He birdied the first hole and parred the last to seal the win.
“It was great to be patient out there and wait for my time. I had to go shot-for-shot,” he said.
Rod Pampling tied for 22nd ahead of John Senden, Cameron Smith and Greg Chalmers (all T46)
Victorians Geoff Ogilvy, Aaron Baddeley, Marc Leishman and Robert Allenby all missed the cut.
By: Robert Grant