ON SONG: Steven Bowditch has found his mojo in New Orleans.
ON SONG: Steven Bowditch has found his mojo in New Orleans. Ap

Bowditch challenging for lead in the US

STEVEN Bowditch, arguably the Sunshine Coast's biggest sports star, has seemingly rediscovered some of his best form.

The 32-year-old from Peregian Beach moved to eighth on the leaderboard yesterday at the $A8.8 million Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

He was five-under for the round after 15 holes when rain suspended play and nine-under for the tournament after an opening round four-under par 68.

He is yet to drop a shot.

Bowditch will resume this morning only two shots adrift of the leaders, Americans Hudson Swafford and Boo Weekley.

He is in the same pairing as Weekley and the two are good friends.

Bowditch enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2014, winning the Texas Open, playing in the US Masters and collecting year earnings of $A2.5 million.

He started his 2014-15 campaign with a bang by finishing second in California, but missed the cut in seven of his past nine events.

He finished equal 44th at the RBC Heritage last weekend and would seem poised for a great result in Louisiana.

In the opening round he raised eyebrows when he smacked a 100-metre approach shot from the rough to within three metres of the pin at the par-four 16th and then slotted a left-to-right downhill putt.

Compatriot Jason Day was in third place on 10-under par.

Fellow Australian Marc Leishman continued to impress in his comeback tournament after taking a month off to be with his ill wife.

He was in 14th place on eight-under and 10-under for the round with one hole to play. A birdie on the last would set a course record.

In San Francisco, the Coast's Katherine Kirk and Sarah-Jane Smith were out of contention at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

They were in a share of 69th place on five-over after Kirk's second round of one-over 73 and Smith's five-over 77.