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Dec 3, 2012

Bowditch Jones earn US PGA Tour cards

Australian golfers Steven Bowditch and Matt Jones will return to full status on the US PGA Tour in 2013 after claiming cards on the final day of the qualifying school.

Needing a top 25 finish to get back on the tour, Bowditch led the tournament after five rounds but stumbled to a two-over-par 74 in Monday's final round - still enough to finish in a tie for 10th at 21-under-par.

Jones carded a two-under 70 to be tied 14th at 20-under, five shots behind South Korea's Dong-hwan Lee who claimed Q-school medallist honours in the Californian desert.

Fellow Australian Mathew Goggin suffered bitter disappointment as he shot a closing 72 to finish at 16-under-par and in a tie for 27th, just one shot away from returning to the tour in 2013.

Bowditch, who had played rounds three, four and five bogey-free, looked set to implode early in his final round on the Stadium Course.

After scrambling pars on the opening two holes he pulled his tee shot on the third left into trees and the ball cannoned hard left out of bounds into an adjacent property.

The result was a double bogey and his lead had evaporated.

The Queenslander made a routine par on the fourth but then once again pulled his tee shot left on the fifth, finding the water and setting up a bogey.

When his tee shot on the par three sixth floated right into the lake and another bogey resulted it appeared the wheels had fallen off and the 29-year-old was headed towards Q-School infamy.

But birdies on the eighth and 10th holes steadied the ship, allowing some breathing room.

He dropped further shots on the 11th and 14th holes but birdied the 12th and then produced a stunning nine-iron to the island green par three 17th to set up his final birdie and trip back to the big time.

Jones flirted in and around the number throughout the round with three birdies in his opening 10 holes but a double bogey on the sixth and bogey on 12 had the New South Welshman just inside the mark.

With his future on the line the 32-year-old stepped up on the home stretch, making critical back-to-back birdies on 16 and 17.

Adam Crawford finished three shots off the number but his tie for 43rd ensured the journeyman Aussie gained full status on the secondary web.com tour in 2013 where he will join Goggin and Ashley Hall (T57).

Rod Pampling (T64) and Nick O'Hern (T104) failed in their bid to improve on the conditional US PGA Tour status they've already earned for 2013.

Bryden Macpherson (T95) will hope to find some limited starts on the secondary tour as a conditional member while Steve Allan (T104) and Luke Hickmott (T133) could also hope for similar starts.

Gavin Coles (T146) and James Nitties (155th) will return to the web.com tour courtesy of wins in 2011 and a two-year exemption.

Adam Scott, Jason Day, John Senden, Geoff Ogilvy, Greg Chalmers, Aaron Baddeley, Marc Leishman, Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Scott Gardiner, Cameron Percy and Alistair Presnell were already fully exempt for the 2013 PGA Tour.

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