Brendan Steele opened the Farmers Insurance Open yesterday at the Torrey Pines Golf Course with a five-under-par performance that puts him in a tie for 11th place, two shots behind the leaders going into today’s second round.

The Idyllwild native collected seven birdies against two bogeys on the North Course. His drives were consistent, his irons were sharp, and his putting was strong. Lee Trevino is credited with saying: “Two things don’t last long: dogs chasing cars and pros putting for pars.” Steele was putting for birdies, getting some, and tapping in pars all day. He had very few real putts for par.

Because, as usual, most of the first-day leaders at Torrey Pines played the North Course, which is considered a few strokes easier than the South Course, it is difficult to make comparisons after one round at Torrey. So K.J. Choi, who scored seven under par on the South Course on Thursday, could be thought of as leading the tournament over Brandt Snedecker, who shot the same score on the North Course.

Today, Steele tees off at 9:20 at the 10th tee on the tougher South Course. That tee is located more than a half-mile from the practice putting green at the club house, so if you’re going out to watch him Friday morning, be sure to allow time to walk to the tee from there. (The pros get to ride.)

PGA professional golfers, Keegan Bradley (left) and Brendan Steele (right) with superfan André Pilon (center) after Tuesday's practice round for the Farmers Insurance Open. Photo courtesy of Jack Clark.


    • Jack Clark, the Town Crier's golf reporter, provided this answer to Kimberlie's question:

      Hi, Kimberlie-

      Thanks for asking your question.

      Before Brendan was in high school, his older brother — a head greenskeeper — interested him in golf, and Brendan appeared to have game. Since he lived in Idyllwild, a small town of less than 4,000 people a mile high in the mountains, his parents put in an artificial-grass putting green next to their house, with an adjoining sand trap and chipping area.

      They also erected a net so he could practice full shots. This way they didn't need to drive him down to Hemet, some 45 minutes away, to practice every day.

      Later, when Brendan went to Hemet High School, he was on the golf team and down there anyway; so he then had access to real courses and practice facilities.

      His folks' practice area has been kept in good condition and Brendan still uses it occasionally when he's visiting them.

      By the way, you might be interested: When I was checking in at the PGA media tent last Wednesday, the fellow working the photographer's table said that he really liked to watch Brendan play and hoped he did well. He told me Brendan was "the nicest guy on the tour."

      I hope you enjoy following Brendan's golf career as much as I do, Kimberlie. Thanks again for asking your question.

      Jack Clark
      (covering Brendan for the Idyllwild Town Crier)