Brendan Steele, right, and his caddy Nick Wilkins after the 2012 Humana Challenge. Photo by Jack Clark
Brendan Steele and his fellow pros pretty much shredded the desert courses at the 2012 Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation PGA golf tournament last week in La Quinta.

Seven players shot 20 under par or better despite winds of 35 miles per hour and heavier gusts that toppled trees, leveled leaderboards, and postponed play on Saturday afternoon.

Steele himself had an up and down time while finishing the four rounds seven under par and improving his game since his first effort of the season two weeks ago at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. His 70-69-70-72 — 281 included an eagle, 19 birdies, 12 bogeys and a double.

In an exclusive post-tournament interview with the Town Crier, Steele said, while laughing, “I feel really good about my game. Really good. I left Maui feeling absolutely terrible, like I wasn’t going to play a good round of golf this whole year. And then I felt like I played four good rounds this week and didn’t get anything out of ’em.”

Few know that Steele re-injured his back during a practice round in Maui and thought he would have to withdraw from that tournament. But the professional services of his caddie, Nick Wilkins, who is also his physical therapist, enabled him to continue to play during the remainder of that week.

Steele’s problem scoring in La Quinta appears to have been with approach shots. He finished tied for 17th in putts needed per round. but being next to last in hitting greens in regulation may have helped lower the putts needed because he had a lot of up-and-down chips for pars.

Still he made the cut, finished well under par, garnered $11,368 in official earnings, and tuned up for this week’s $6 million Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in La Jolla — and then three more tournaments in three weeks.