STEVEN Bowditch's desperate bid to keep his US PGA Tour card faded on the fairways of Florida yesterday, but it wasn't through a lack of trying.
The 28-year-old played the season-ending tournament with a broken right hand, which was suffered when a valet accidentally slammed a car door on his hand last week.
Needing to gain 10 places on the season's money list to keep his full-time playing rights for next year, Bowditch endured the first three rounds of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic with painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication.
But Peregian Beach's big-hitter lost his grip in the final round yesterday, carding a score of even-par 72 to fall from ninth place to 16th place on the tournament leaderboard.
He finished on 10-under-par, seven strokes behind victor Luke Donald.
"I didn't have club face control. The club face would start moving around," Bowditch told the Golf Channel. "I could only play at about 80%."
Still, it was a gutsy effort from Bowditch, who lifted his year's earnings to $621,378 and gained three places on the money list to finish in 132nd place - just outside the top 125 players who secure their spots for next year.
But all is not lost for Bowditch, who is among those players (126th and 150th) granted conditional status on the tour for next year.
As a result, he will be able to compete in 8-18 top-tier tournaments as well as competing on the secondary Nationwide Tour.
He could also try and regain his US PGA Tour status through the notorious Qualifying School from November 30-December 5.
If he does attempt this, it could put him in some doubt for the Australian PGA Championships at Hyatt Regency Coolum, which finishes three days earlier.
Bowditch does not have much time to recover from his injury.
He plans to play the Australian Open and New South Wales Open, with Q-School to follow.
He is also scheduled to host a $30,000 charity event for autism at Twin Waters Golf Course next month.
Bowditch returned to the US PGA Tour this year after three-year hiatus.
He played 28 US PGA Tour events this campaign, making the cut in 15 of those.
He claimed a top-10 finish at Pebble Beach and finished in the top-25 on six occasions.