‘Hey, it’s just golf’: PGA pro posts record high score at Doral

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DORAL, FL - MARCH 03: Steven Bowditch of Australia tees off on the second hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral Blue Monster Course on March 3, 2016 in Doral, Florida. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

DORAL, Fla. (AP) — Steven Bowditch tapped in for par to end his week at the Cadillac Championship, then walked off the 18th green with a smile as those in the grandstand applauded his effort.

There were four people clapping.

“Hey, it’s just golf,” Bowditch said with a shrug.

Bad golf, but golf nonetheless. Bowditch shot 84 on Sunday in his final round at Doral, his fourth straight round in the 80s. He was 37 over for the week, his 72-hole score of 325 the highest ever recorded in a World Golf Championships event. His score was so bad that a young volunteer who was tasked with following Bowditch around with a portable scoreboard was told not to post any numbers, and no one questioned that logic.

“I think there was four dozen golf balls at the start of the week in my locker,” Bowditch said. “And I’m down to my last one.”

The Australian’s sense of humor was intact, at least.

Bowditch isn’t some hack who made the Cadillac field as a fluke. He’s a two-time winner in the U.S., a winner of more than $6.6 million in PGA Tour events, a past President’s Cup player and came into the week ranked No. 78 in the world.

His week at Doral started with a birdie. Unfortunately for him, there were 71 more holes that turned into a lengthy series of disasters. There was the triple-bogey that capped his opening-round 81, then a combination of a triple-bogey, quadruple-bogey and sextuple-bogey — that’s a 10 on a par-4 — in his second round on Friday.

For his 36 holes on the weekend, he made more triple-bogeys (three) than birdies (two).

“It’s the Blue Monster for a reason,” Bowditch said. “I wasn’t driving it the greatest here, and it’s all over if you can’t drive it.”

Quitting, he said, was not a consideration. He could have found a way to withdraw and still picked up a check, but he figured his game needed the work anyway so he kept going.

“I shot 37 over par and still made a paycheck,” Bowditch said. “All’s not that bad.”

Not a bad paycheck, either. He’ll earn $48,000, despite being the first player to shoot four rounds of 80 or more in a PGA Tour event, officials said, since Mike Dunaway posted four consecutive 81s in the 1983 Panasonic Las Vegas Pro-Celebrity Classic — a five-round event. The previous high score in a WGC stroke-play event was 323, by Huang Ming-jie at Shanghai in 2013.

Painful as it was for Bowditch, at least Sunday’s round went quickly.

Playing alone for the second straight day, Bowditch finished his round in 2 hours, 12 minutes. He signed his card, opened a Diet Coke and was thinking about teeing it up in a couple days in Tampa by the time most of the leaders were even warming up for their final rounds at Doral.

“It’s the game of golf,” Bowditch said. “You don’t want to play that way, but it is what it is. No one wants to play that bad, but it’s just golf. That’s it. I’m out here in one of the biggest events of the year, playing bad — but I earned my right to be here.”

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