Brendan Steele fired a fine 4-under-par 68 today, Friday, at the Torrey Pines North Course in La Jolla to tie for 12th place with Tiger Woods and three others midway through the Farmers Insurance Open. He opened with a blazing 31 on his first nine, but a bogie and double bogie made him settle for a 37 on his second.
Most of Steele’s birdies came in a flock, six of them within seven holes beginning with the 13th hole and extending through the 18th and into hole no. 1 to start the front nine, which Steele played second.
On the 172-yard par-3 17th hole, one of Steele’s playing partners, Michael Thompson, launched a high shot that hit the green and spun back to within one foot of the pin. Not to be outdone, Steele immediately reproduced that shot, landing within a few inches of where Thompson’s ball had hit, and spinning his ball back to come to rest only one inch from Thompson’s.
Steele gave back three shots with a bogie and double bogie on the 6th and 7th holes, respectively, but finished strongly with a birdie on the par-5 9th hole to finish his round.
With rounds of 70 and 68 totaling 138, Steele easily made the cut in only his third PGA Tour tournament, and with five strokes to spare. To show how much his game has improved in recent times, three years ago in his rookie season on the Nationwide Tour he needed six tournaments to accomplish that feat.
When asked by the Town Crier if he felt that his white-hot 31 on his first nine had enhanced his confidence that he belonged on the big tour, Steele responded, yes, and iterated that he felt his game was good enough to win since he was making enough birdies to win—but he needed to reduce the bogies that hurt his scoring. He said he was working on eliminating the mistakes that resulted in bogies.
Saturday is “Moving Day” in a four-day tournament like the Farmer’s Insurance Open, with each player jockeying for position going into Sunday’s final round. Steele tees off tomorrow morning, Saturday, at 9:00 on the 1st hole of the Torrey Pines South Course. He is paired with PGA Tour veterans Billy Mayfair and Tag Ridings.