Aussie Bowditch Getting Job Done At WAPL
By David Shefter, USGA
Devens, Mass. – Like so many female collegiate golfers, Leanne Bowditch decided to give LPGA Tour qualifying a go last fall after graduating from Pepperdine University.
Competing as an amateur, the Australian-born Bowditch missed advancing to the finals by one stroke in California and again failed to advance in the Florida qualifier a few weeks later. At that point, Bowditch made a critical decision. She chose to get a regular job rather than chase checks on the Duramed Futures Tour or mini-tour circuit.
With a year remaining on her student visa, Bowditch landed a position with Disaster Preparedness Summit, a company that sets up events for businesses to cope with disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, etc. Earlier this year, the company also created Autism Recovery Summit, which helps parents and families cope with autistic children.
“We travel all around the country,” said the 22-year-old Bowditch, who advanced to the third round of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship at Red Tail Golf Club with a 4-and-3 victory over Aimee Neff of Carmel, Ind. “[My position] technically ends in August, but I want to keep working with Austism Recovery Summit. My nephew got diagnosed with it so it’s very deep to my heart.”
Autism is a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Generally, all signs of the disorder begin before a child turns 3. The sons of pro golfer Ernie Els and ex-NFL quarterback Doug Flutie have dealt with autism, and the disorder is four times more prevalent in males than females. About one out of every 150 children is diagnosed with autism.
“The last few years it’s just skyrocketed,” said Bowditch. “We’ve just started it. We’re looking to do about four [events with Autism Recover Summit].”
Bowditch, who graduated with a integrated marketing communications degree, isn’t quite sure what the future holds for her. She will return to Australia in August for a couple of weeks and from there will map out a career path. She was thankful her boss gave her time off to compete in the WAPL.
She discovered Pepperdine through former Waves standout and current LPGA Tour player Katherine Hull, as the two attended the same high school in Australia and competed in similar junior events. Bowditch knew she wanted to attend college in the U.S., but didn’t want to be somewhere cold or too far from home. And when Pepperdine offered a scholarship after she competed in the Junior World Championship in San Diego seven years ago, Bowditch jumped on the opportunity to attend college in the southern California beach community of Malibu.
"I'm an Aussie and I love the beach," Bowditch wrote on her media bio form for the WAPL.
Last year, she concluded her career by winning the West Coast Conference individual title.
But she had never competed in a USGA championship before this week. She tried to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur three years ago, but summer school generally kept her off the summer competition circuit.
Against Neff, Bowditch rallied from an early 2-down deficit to square the match with a short birdie at the ninth hole. A birdie at No. 10 put her ahead for good, and she closed it out with a winning par at the par-3 15th hole.
“I’m just playing solid golf,” said Bowditch. “I’m just trying to not make too many mistakes and put the pressure on my opponent.”
David Shefter is a USGA Digital Media staff writer. E-mail him with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.