Brendan Steele placed high again last week on the PGA Tour — this time in the AT&T National at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. — and has essentially assured his playing card for next season.
The Idyllwild native posted a 2-under-par 73-71-66-72 — 282 for a tie for 16th place and $97,500 in prize money. But more importantly, he earned 53 FedEx Cup points, bringing his subtotal to 405 for this year, well above what has been traditionally needed to place in the top 125 and win playing privileges on the PGA Tour for a subsequent season.
Steele’s fine proximity-to-the-hole stats (31 feet, 7 inches last week compared to the field average of nearly 34 feet) indicate that he has dialed in his iron play during the last two weeks. Thursday he put one in from 110 yards to eagle the 579-yard, par-5 16th hole and also had an 18-yard chip-in on No. 12. Friday he sank a 13-yard bunker shot and a 29-foot putt.
Saturday Steele chipped in from 13 yards for one of 6 birdies in what he later described as perhaps the best round he has yet played on the PGA Tour. He told his father, Kent Steele, he felt like he could do anything with the ball that day — draw, fade, whatever was needed — and on Sunday he sank putts of 13, 14 and 33 feet.
Steele now has jumped to 88th on the FedEx Cup points list for the season and 100th on the official money list at $594,743, and he still has several more tournaments to play.
This week Steele tees it up in the $6.3 million Greenbrier Classic on The Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., where winning earns more than a million dollars.