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September 22, 2017

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Australia's Steven Bowditch leads Texas Open, Mickelson withdraws

SAN ANTONIO -- Australia's Steven Bowditch scrambled for a four-under par 68 on Saturday to stretch his lead to three strokes going into the final round of the U.S. PGA Tour's Texas Open.

Bowditch, who is seeking a first U.S. tour title, had a 54-hole total of 12-under par 204.

He was three strokes in front of Americans Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe.

Kuchar fired a seven-under 65, the low round of the day, for 207. Loupe could have had sole possession of second place, but bogeyed his last hole for a two-under 70.

American Pat Perez was alone on 208 after a 69 and American Kevin Na's 69 left him on 209.

Bowditch chipped in at the first two holes for a birdie and an eagle. He added two more birdies and just one bogey, at the par-four ninth, to build on his 36-hole lead.

"I actually hit two good shots on the first hole, I was just sort of in between clubs for my second," Bowditch said. "It was probably the easiest chip you're going to get out there. It landed on the front and let it run out.

"The second hole was a little different. I took a bit of a risk out of the bunker for my second shot to try and get it pretty close to the green and the lie was good.

"I was just trying to chip it up there around a comfortable tap-in distance so I got lucky and it dropped in."

That bit of luck proved especially helpful since Bowditch was scrambling much of the day, finding only eight greens in regulation.

Bowditch's best finish this season was a tie for 19th at Pebble Beach. His best career finish on the PGA Tour was a tie for second at the Greenbrier Classic last year.

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