Brendan Steele went low on the first day of the Tampa Bay Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla., last Thursday, but the tough Copperhead course rose up and bit him on the second and third days.

His opening round 68 had him tied for third place at the end of the first round, but the two next rounds dropped him way down the leaderboard.

Steele picked his game back up on Sunday, however, posting a three-under-par 69 that carried him to a finishing tie for 43rd. He finished with a 68-75-74-69 — 286 scorecard and earned $16,747 in official prize money.

The bright spots for Steele this season are that he has not missed a cut in all six of his 2013 entries. Counting the last two tournaments of 2012, he has made eight consecutive cuts. He also has made only one double bogey this season. But he has scored just one top-25 finish so far this year, a fine tie for sixth at Phoenix, compared to six last year.

After six tournaments, Steele now has earned $310,695 in official prize money, which puts him in 71st place on the 2013 official money list. He also stands 66th in this seasons’ FedEx Cup point standings. If he finishes in the top 125 in either list, he earns his ticket for play next season.

In past seasons, the 125th spots were somewhere around $750,000 and 350 points, respectively, but 2013 is a short, transition season that will end with the Tour Championship in September. There will be no more “Fall Finish” this year for last-ditch efforts to earn cards for the next season.

The next season, designated 2013-2014, will begin in October with the Open in San Martin, Calif.

Steele will play this week in the $6.2 million Arnold Palmer Invitational on the Bay Hill course in Orlando, Fla., where the winner’s purse is just over a million dollars.