American fans dub Coast golfer Bowditch the "Big Koala"
GOLF: Birdies have been few and far between for Peregian Beach's Steven Bowditch on the US PGA tour this year, but two fanatical American golfers are on a quest to find him more.
Matt Hagen (Ocala, FL) and Dave Sipos (Denver, CO) are confident their favourite Aussie golfer can recapture the magic.
They recently started a Twitter account Birdies4Bowditch (@bowditchbirdies), which provides live updates of Bowditch's rounds for followers known as "Bowditch Buddies".
The page came about after the men had poked some fun at Steven Bowditch on Twitter following a couple of poor rounds.
To their surprise, Bowditch replied, and asked "why so much hate?"
"After doing our research about Mr Bowditch and reading about the personal struggles he has dealt with in life, our tweets became much more positive and uplifting," Hagen said.
"During that time I made a joke about starting a Birdies for Bowditch campaign."
The page is now anything but a joke and although the numbers aren't staggering, @Birdies4Bowditch has 200 followers and growing.
Hagen and Sipos have dubbed Bowditch the "Big Koala" and have tried to use the name to do good for wildlife.
"We know koalas are associated with Australia and we know Mr Bowditch is a pretty big guy so we essentially just put those two together," Hagen said.
"We poked around online and found that you are able to 'adopt' animals from the Cleveland Zoo, one being a koala.
"Each week we pick a different animal from the Cleveland Zoo that hails from Australia and if Mr Bowditch can achieve 15 or more birdies (in a tournament) then we will adopt that animal for $50."
But since opening the page, the boys haven't had to part with too much cash.
Since finishing tied for 10th at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in 2016, and following a stellar year in 2015, Bowditch has missed nine of a possible 15 cuts.
An improved performance at the Dean and Deluca Invitational late last month (T22) had fans thinking the "Big Koala" was on his way back to form ahead of this week's US Open at Oakmont.
Another missed cut at the St Jude Classic put a dampner on his hopes and forced some bookmakers to wind out his odds beyond 500-1.
Hagen said he hoped Bowditch could recapture his form of 2015 and that the #Bowditchvictory was trending on Twitter soon.
"The key to winning and competing in this year's US Open we believe is quite simple. Keep the ball in the fairway," Hagen said.
"This seems to be where Mr Bowditch is struggling right now. At this week's tournament he only hit 16 fairways ... that will not get it done at Oakmont."