By Mark Lamport-Stokes
AKRON, Ohio (Reuters) - Australian Steven Bowditch gave his Presidents Cup hopes a timely boost by firing a sizzling seven-under-par 63 in the third round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Saturday.
Bowditch, who has long targeted a first appearance in the biennial team competition, racked up eight birdies and a bogey to shoot the best score of the week and climb into an early tie for second place at the elite World Golf Championships event.
The 32-year-old was especially impressive after the turn, taking advantage of slightly more receptive conditions at Firestone Country Club with three birdies in his last five holes.
"From there (the 14th tee), I didn't miss a golf shot," Bowditch told reporters after posting a five-under total of 205. "I hit it dead where I wanted to hit it basically. Hopefully, I can carry it into tomorrow.
"I'm just trying to go at my targets. There are definitely some tough pins out there, but if you hit it in the right spots, you can make some nice putts."
Bowditch currently sits 12th in the Internationals points standings and the leading 10 players after the Deutsche Bank Championship ends on Sept. 7 will automatically qualify for the Presidents Cup.
International captain Nick Price will then add his two wildcard picks the following day and Bowditch would dearly love to make the 12-man team to take on holders the United States in South Korea from Oct 8-11.
"I dare say I'm probably not going to be a pick," said the Australian, who clinched his second victory on the PGA Tour at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May. "We all know what we've got to do.
"It's something that I really want to do. It will be a dream of mine, and I haven't had too many. To play a British Open at St. Andrews, got my (PGA) Tour card at the page of 30 and now to play a Presidents Cup."
Watching the Internationals lose to the U.S. in the 2011 Presidents Cup played at Royal Melbourne in his native Australia convinced Bowditch to do everything he could to qualify for the team competition.
"That was when I thought, 'Yeah, it's really, really time to try to have a go at this.' When it's all said and done, I'd love to be able to say that I at least represented the International team one time," he said.
(Editing by Larry Fine)