Three months ago in March, Brendan Steele played his eighth-consecutive, in-the-money tournament on the PGA Tour — a personal record. But now in June, the native Idyllwilder has missed the cut in five straight PGA Tour tournaments — also a personal record. In fact, he hasn’t missed the cut five times running since the opening of his first season on the Nationwide Tour in 2008.
In U.S. Opens, the USGA is famous for setting up tough courses by narrowing fairways and growing up roughs. But Steele will try to turn things around this week after having qualified for the U.S. Open on the Merion Golf Club course, in Ardmore, Pa.
Merion is the course made famous in the 1950 U.S. Open by Ben Hogan’s iconic 1-iron approach to the then 458-yard, par-4 18th green. The shot got him into a playoff he won the next day. That same 18th hole is 521 yards long today, but is still a par 4.
After this week, Steele will have the option of entering at least eight more tournaments this season to raise his positions on the official money winnings list and the FedEx Cup point list.
Finishing in the top 125 on either list will earn his ticket for the new 2013-2014 season that will follow close on the heels of this 2013 season. Steele currently stands 123rd on the money list and 106th on the points list for this season.