Steven Bowditch turns the page

FORT WORTH, Texas -- As Steven Bowditch walked up the 18th fairway Friday, the thin gallery barely noticed.

Bowditch was a faceless professional golfer among a field of professional golfers, even if he was momentarily in the lead at 9-under in the second round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

But if the spectators only knew Bowditch's amazing story, there would have been much appreciation for the 64 he posted in the second round.

Once a golfing prodigy from Queensland, Australia -- where he was thought by some to be the country's next Greg Norman with the likes of his friends Adam Scott and Jason Day, winners of the HP Byron Nelson Championship -- Bowditch was found face down in a pool at his condominium in April 2006, early in his rookie year on the PGA Tour.

Battling depression, he reportedly had attempted suicide but was resuscitated by his then-girlfriend.

His rookie year was a disaster. He made only two cuts in 22 events. In his first 10 tournaments, he withdrew twice, was disqualified three times and missed the cut five more. The bout of depression had started a year earlier in Australia, even as he played some of the best golf of his life, and not long after, he gave up the game.

He had severe headaches and nose bleeds. He could not sleep. He drank often. It took some time for medication to help.

These days, however, Bowditch, who clawed his way back through the Nationwide Tour to earn his 2011 card, does not want to talk about his journey.

"That's basically something that is in the past," Bowditch said. "That's where it is. Living in the future."

Like fellow Aussies Rod Pampling, John Senden, Nathan Green and Day, Bowditch has elected to call the Dallas area home. He lives in Addison and is making the hour-long commute to Colonial every day this week. He practices out of TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney. In September he will be married at Four Seasons Las Colinas to Amanda Yarussi, a local television producer.

Next week he gets to play the HP Byron Nelson Championship at TPC Four Seasons Resort.

"It's nice to have three weeks at home," Bowditch said.

In his first Colonial, Bowditch finds himself in contention entering the weekend. Two years ago, he was a spectator, walking the grounds with his coach, Scott Hamilton.

"That's the closest I've been until Monday," Bowditch said. "I walked around with him. It's actually a pretty neat experience, coming out two years later, playing how badly I was, and he has helped me turn the page."

Entering Colonial, he had made seven of 12 cuts and is 118th on the money list. His best finish was ninth place at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February.

That he is so close to the top of the leaderboard at Colonial is somewhat surprising because of the shorter holes, tighter fairways and doglegs that do not seem to match his powerful game. Bowditch is fifth on the PGA Tour in driving distance (303.8 yards).

"I mean, if you hit it straight, it doesn't matter how far you hit it," said Bowditch, who has hit 16 of 28 fairways through two rounds.

His only bogey Friday, on No. 17, came in part because he hit a 2-iron off the tee. His second shot landed in the bunker, and he was unable to get up and down for par. He started his round with back-to-back birdies, and he caught a break on the par-3 eighth.

His tee shot clipped a branch right of the green and kicked right, 21 feet from the hole, and he made the birdie putt.

"It's just one of those things you've got to take them when you get them," Bowditch said.

That is something he has learned from the deepest of depths five years ago.

"I'm always constantly believing in what I'm doing and I haven't changed that from the start," Bowditch said. "I turned professional when I was 18, so, you know, it's a process. You learn. You make mistakes. I'm not even 28 yet, so it's not that big a deal. The career hasn't really started."

Todd Archer is a reporter for ESPNDallas.com.