Brendan Steele opened the new PGA Tour season ending 2015 with a solid top-25 finish. The Idyllwild native negotiated the Silverado Country Club North course in the Frys.com Open in Napa last week in a 7-under-par 72-70-69-70 — 281. His performance tied him for 21st place by the end of play on Sunday and earned him $62,400 in official prize money and 48 FedExCup points.
Steele found 57 percent of the fairways with drives averaging 311 yards. He hit 72 percent of the greens in regulation and his proximity to the hole was 36 feet. He gained 1.8 strokes on the field with tee-to-green play and 3.7 strokes with his putter, averaging 1.77 putts per green.
The FedExCup points a player accumulates during the season are important because they determine both his eligibility for post-season tournament play and his playing privileges for the next season. A player’s ranking against the other players determines his eligibility, not any given number of points — for example, only the top-125 point earners will advance to the playoffs and earn their playing cards for next season.
This past season, the player who ranked 125th had earned 438 FedExCup points. So, having earned 48 points last week, Steele probably already has 10 percent of the points he will need to meet the first FedExCup points goal: eligibility for post season play and playing privileges for next year.
The more points a player earns, the further he advances in post-season play. The player who has earned the most points by the end of the four playoff tournaments wins a $10 million bonus.
By the way, the PGA Tour’s money does not all go to players. Each tournament earns a million dollars or more for local charities — that’s a million dollars a week during an 11-month season.
Steele will play in this week’s $6.2 million Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on the TPC Summerlin course in Las Vegas.