Brendan Steele rode a tremendous third round to a top-6 finish in the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale last week. On Saturday he fired a bogey-free, 9-under-par 62 — the lowest round of the entire tournament by two strokes, and the lowest 18-hole score Steele has posted in competition since joining the PGA Tour three years ago. Steele started on the 10th tee and birdied holes 5, 6, 7 and 8 on his back nine, consecutively.
Everything was working well during that remarkable round. The native Idyllwilder hit 12 out of 14 fairways with drives averaging 329 yards, including one drive of 337. He hit 83% of the greens in regulation and needed under 1.5 putts per green, gaining 2.65 strokes putting on his competition. He got up and down from greenside bunkers both times that was needed to save par, and he scrambled for par on all three occasions that he missed greens in regulation.
“Thanks! A great day for sure,” said Steele upon being congratulated after the round.
For the tournament as a whole, Steele posted a 13-under-par 66-74-62-69 — 271, earning $207,700 in official prize money. He also gained 91.66 FedExCup points — now 238 for this season — and climbed from 68th to 45th place in the standings. Steele now has about half of the FedExCup points he likely will need to earn his playing privileges for 2014-15, and six more months of this season still remain.
On his bag in Phoenix, Steele had Bobby Brown, an experienced PGA Tour caddie with Dustin Johnson, Kyle Stanley and Eric Axley — like Steele, all winners on PGA Tour. Brown will caddie for Steele again this week in the $6.6 million AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in Northern California.