Aussie Bowditch shares lead at PGA event

Australia’s Steven Bowditch has birdied three of his last five holes to claim a share of the lead when play was suspended at the rain-soaked US PGA Byron Nelson tournament.

Bowditch, who led for the first time after 18 holes in a tour event, started on the back nine and mixed four birdies and four bogeys in his first eight holes.

But after three pars and a pair of bogeys, he sank three birdies in a row, closing at the par-5 seventh, and added two pars for a one-under par 68.

That left the Aussie level with Americans Jimmy Walker and Joe Curran on nine-under 130 after 36 holes but with 33 golfers unable to finish their second round before darkness after heavy rain delayed the start of play by three hours.

“I didn’t putt anywhere near as well as I did yesterday,” Bowditch said. “I missed a lot of putts, made a lot of soft bogeys, but started to make a few the last few holes there, so it was nice I finished like that.”

Curran fired a 63 and Walker shot 66 to share the clubhouse lead.

When play resumes, the player closest to the leaders is American Tony Finau, on seven-under with two holes to play while compatriot Joe Affrunti is at six-under with four holes remaining.

Heavy rains and flooding at the TPC Four Seasons course forced US PGA Tour officials to trim the 14th hole to a par-3 for the second round.

The par-4, 406-yard layout was reduced to a 104-yard par-3 after heavy rains atop five inches of overnight rain made the fairway a swamp.

“The 14th fairway is unplayable where we drive the ball,” PGA vice president Slugger White said. “We had no place to go. We would be losing balls and the conditions rendered the hole unplayable. That’s the reason we made the decision to go down there to avoid that.”

Tournament officials will evaluate the hole as the event continues to determine how it plays in future rounds.

The pitch and putt transformation quickly surrendered a hole-in-one with American Gary Woodland making a ace with his chip shot.

Bowditch won his only prior US PGA title at last year’s Texas Open while Walker seeks his third victory of the season and sixth overall and Curran seeks his first tour title.

Reigning Masters champion and world number two Jordan Spieth shot a 64, putting him in a seven-way share of 11th at 133.

“At least I got it to where I have a chance to make some noise,” Spieth said. “Going to need a round like today the next two days, I think, in order to be able to win, but got myself into contention. We’ll see what happens.”

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