In a dramatic turnaround of events, Brendan Steele came from the cut number to finish tied for seventh in the Alstom Open de France — the French Open — on the Le Golf National course in Paris last week.
Steele’s 74-70-67-71 — 282 earned 77,400 euros or nearly $112,400, which will not count toward his winnings on the PGA Tour record. His PGA Tour official winnings for this his rookie year remain at $1.4 million, but his European Tour winnings bring the year’s overall total to nearly $1.6 million.
In Paris last week, Steele had a wobbly start with a 74 in the opening round, placing him well below the projected cut line. But he fought back on Friday, and after 16 holes was one stroke above the cut number. He then birdied the 17th to give him a two-stroke cushion against the cut. It turned out he needed that cushion because he found the water on the 18th and sustained a double bogey, making the cut on the number.
Steele was the only American of the three in the field to make the cut. Bubba Watson, ranked 12th in the world, missed the cut by four strokes and slipped to 15th.
On Saturday, Steele made an impressive eagle on the lengthy 607-yard par-five 14th hole on his way to a 67 that tied the lowest score of the day and vaulted him into 13th place going into the last round. Then on Sunday, while only five players broke par, he posted an even par round that elevated him to a tie for 7th place.
This week Steele will join eight other Americans, including Phil Michelson, to play in another European Tour event: the £3 million Barclays Scottish Open on the Castle Stuart Golf Links at Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.
Should he finish in the top five this week, he would be eligible for The Open Championship — referred to in the U.S. as the British Open — which will be played next week at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England.