On a day when most of the talk at the Texas Valero Open was whether or not Phil Mickelson would make the cut, little-known Steven Bowditch put together a round of 5-under 67 to take the lead halfway through the tournament at the TPC San Antonio golf course. The 30-year old Australian is at eight under par after Friday’s second round and has a one-stroke lead over Chad Collins and Andrew Loupe.
Mickelson had a 77 on Thursday and started out like he was determined to make his poor opening round a distant memory, making birdie on three of his first six holes to improve to plus two. He made bogey on the par-five eighth hole and finish his front nine in 34 and three over for the tournament. He would move to plus four with a bogey on 15, and at that point found himself one shot on the wrong side of the cut-line. But “Phil the Thrill” would provide one more reason for fans to wipe their brow on the final hole as he birdied the par-five 18th and come in just low enough to be in the mix on the weekend. Making the cut was very important to Mickelson, as he looks to log more competitive golf rounds in his preparation for the Masters in two weeks.
Bowditch’s day started on the back nine, where he parlayed three birdies and an eagle into a 5-under 31, followed by birdies on two of the first three holes on the front to move to 10 under. He stayed at that score until his final hole, the par-four ninth, where he carded an uncharacteristic double-bogey six. His 5-under par 67 would have been Friday’s best round, but Collins had seven birdies and a bogey to record a 6-under par 66.
First round Texas Valero Open leader Pat Perez looked like a man on a mission, making four birdies and a bogey on his first nine to move to seven under par, but a double-bogey on his ninth hole, number 18, would drop him to minus five. He would make nothing but pars the rest of the way for a second-round 71 and a tie for fourth with Cameron Beckman. Both players are at 139.
Some of the notable players who did not make the cut include Ernie Els who had 74 both days and finished with one shot too many at plus four. Padraig Harrington, David Toms and defending champion Martin Laird were at five over. K.J. Choi had a pair of 75s and missed the cut at plus six.
In the LPGA Dori Carter fired an 8-under par 64 on Friday and has the lead after two rounds of the KIA Classic in Carlsbad, CA. Carter had 11 birdies on the day and three bogies. Added to her 2-under par 70 on Thursday her total is 134, two shots better than two other Americans, Cristie Kerr and Stacy Lewis at 136. First round leader Paula Creamer had an even-par 72 today and is five shots back at minus five. Lizette Salas of the U.S. is alone in fourth place at seven under. She had a 68 on Friday to go with her 69 in the opening round on Thursday.
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Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky