Playing in his first major golf championship, Brendan Steele tied for 19th place, earning more than $81,000 in prize money at the PGA Championship in Atlanta last week, bringing his total winnings to nearly $1.6 million.
The native Idyllwilder gave his hometown a huge thrill when he finished Saturday’s play in a two-way tie for the lead, having fired a seven-under-par 69-68-66, 203 total during the first three days of the tournament. But with so many other golfers close to the top, no particular golfer had a 50-50 chance of winning at that point.
Steele’s Sunday round began with a bogey and — with the exception of a stellar eagle at the 551-yard par-5 16th hole — things went pretty much downward for him. He posted a final-round 77 that tied him with Phil Mickelson and five others at an even-par 280.
Keegan Bradley, Steele’s good friend from last year’s Nationwide Tour, eventually won the tournament. The pair had played a practice round with Mickelson at Firestone two weeks ago.
A top-20 finish in his first major is a highly encouraging accomplishment, and Steele will rest from competition this week. On Aug. 25, he is entered in The Barclays, which is the first round of FedEx Cup playoffs. That tournament will be played at the Plainfield Country Club in Edison, N.J., with the overall purse set at a whopping $8 million.