Thursday, January 20, 2011

Brendan Steele Gets Fine Start at Bob Hope Classic

Brendan Steele is playing in the Bob Hope Classic this week. It's a 90-hole tournament, rather than the normal 72-hole tour events. So it began yesterday and our intrepid golf scribe, Jack Clark, is reporting from on scence.

Brendan Steele exploded out of the gate at the Bob Hope Classic being played this week on four golf courses in the desert. At the La Quinta Country Club, he needed only 26 putts to go with drives averaging over 300 yards to post a five-under-part 67 in his opening round. He led the field after his first four holes, which he played in four under par, including an eagle on the 547-yard par-5 13th hole.

But then came a down turn: “I kind of went to sleep there for seven holes,” he said after his round. Both he and his caddy Nick Wilkins used the word “overthinking” to describe his mid-round play. Wilkins related that Steele sees all the possibilities, which can sometimes interfere with best performance. Steele plays best, he said, when he trusts his instincts and commits to each shot, without worrying about the outcome.

Steele gave credit to Wilkins for his good play. “He tells me what shot he sees and how he wants me to hit it, and I select the club and hit the shot.” Steele played his final eight holes in four under par, including a second eagle on the 516-yard par-5 5th hole. Then on the 527-yard par-5 6th hole, his long putt stopped one turn away from what would have been his third eagle of the day.

As of this writing, Steele is tied with 14 others for twentieth place, but there are still 72 holes left to play in this 90-hole marathon. Tomorrow Steele tees off on No. 1 at Silver Rock Resort in La Quinta at 10:09 a.m. for the second day of this five-day tournament.

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