The tough Riviera Country Club course, home of the Northern Trust Open, has never treated Brendan Steele kindly during his three years on the PGA Tour. Last week, Steele improved his performance at the Pacific Palisades course.
In his rookie year, the Idyllwild native stood 12-over-par after two rounds and missed the cut at Riviera. Last year he carded an 11-over-par 295 for the four rounds and ended up tied for 69th, making just over $13,000.
This year, he was his best yet on the course. He shot a two-over-par 70-71-73-72 — 286, tied for 46th place, and earned $18,295 in official prize money.
Steele did collect 13 birdies in last week’s tournament, but they were countered by 13 bogeys and one double bogey, his first double of the season.
His drives averaged just over 300 yards, and he hit 64 percent of the fairways while reaching 83 percent of the greens in regulation. His approach shot proximity to the hole was a very average 37 feet, but his putting average, which generally stands better than the rest of the field, was off a bit at 2.0.
Steele now stands 42nd on the official money list at $279,907 and 46th in the FedEx Cup race.
This week, he will take a break from competition. Then in March, he resume play when the PGA Tour moves east and competes on Florida’s courses.