After round one of the Frys.com Open in San Martin, California, Idyllwild native Brendan Steele is tied with three other players for the lead at four-under-par 74. After going out in a one-over-par 36, he blistered the back nine with a five-under-par 31.
Steele tees off tomorrow, Friday, at 12:10 p.m. Television coverage begins at 1:00 p.m. on the Golf Channel.
The following interview with Steele was conducted yesterday by the PGA press staff.
Q. Brendan, great Back 9. You really brought it home in a hurry.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah. It was a little cold and rainy this morning, and the ball wasn't carrying very far, and we were warming up in the dark, and it was a little tough to get going early, but once I made the turn, things started to click, and I started to loosen up the body a little bit and caught some nice weather on the Back 9.
Q. Guys can kind of get a little something going on the Back 9 here. Kind of like Las Vegas a little bit, isn't it, with 15, 16, 17, 18?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah. It is a little bit. A little bit like Las Vegas. I don't think the nines are quite as extreme in the difference. I think I only made three birdies on the front nine in Las Vegas last week and made 20 for the week or something. So I don't think it's quite that extreme, but it's similar.
Q. Your game has really rounded into shape. You're really coming home fast. You finished 16th last week?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah. I've been playing pretty solid. Four rounds in the 60s last week, so can't complain about that. Scores are always a little lower out there. But the game's been pretty good. I'm a little beat up from the year and a little tired, but I'm happy with the way I'm playing.
Q. It's been a long season. You won in Texas. You're back in your home state of California. You got some folks coming up from the Idyllwild Riverside area?
BRENDAN STEELE: Not that I know of. Not that I know of. But you know, if I keep playing well, then some people might show up. I got a couple friends from up here that are going to be out for the weekend.
Q. They're going to see your name at the top of the leaderboard, and it'll get busy.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah. That's funny how that has a tendency to happen.
Q. 4 under 67, just talk about it. Your first time around this golf course; right?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah. First time was yesterday in the Pro Am even seeing it at all, so just played one round on it and still kind of feeling my way, but feel pretty comfortable on it since it's a California course.
Q. Obviously you gotta be happy to be back out here in your home state playing well. Anything in particular about the golf course the way it played today? I know the weather wasn't exactly perfect for you all out there.
BRENDAN STEELE: Sure. It's a little bit more Northern California weather than Southern California weather. The ball definitely isn't carrying very far. There's a big difference from last week when the ball was flying like crazy. So you're almost hit two and three clubs more from the same kind of numbers. So that's a big adjustment for guys I think most of the time. You have to kind of check your ego and just hit whatever it's going to take to get up there.
Q. I heard you just say a minute ago you're getting a little bit tired at the end of the year. Can you just talk about your rookie year as a whole, obviously with the win at Valero and some solid play throughout the year.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah. It's been amazing. I mean it's been better than I ever could have imagined. I was telling Scott yesterday that I feel like I've packed a lot of years of experience into one year with everything from the win to contending in a major to the PLAYOFFS, and I went to Europe and played a little bit. So I've had a lot of experiences this year and I think it'll really bode well for me in the future.
Q. Great start. Best of luck.
BRENDAN STEELE: Thanks. Appreciate it.