Under windy conditions in San Antonio, Brendan Steele posted a 1-under-par 74-68-72-73 — 287 to tie for eighth place at the Valero Texas Open this last week. It marked his second top-10 of the season.
Although his drives found only 58.93 percent of the fairways and he held only 55.56 percent of the greens in regulation last week, the Idyllwild native still did well enough to gain 8.832 strokes against the field average, tee to green. He also gained 1.483 strokes putting.
His most remarkable shot of the week has to have been his 53-foot chip-in at the sixth hole Saturday, which took a big right-hand turn before dropping into the cup for birdie. He must have thought he had a chance to make that shot; he had the pin removed for it. The video was featured as one of the best shots of the day on the pgatour.com website.
Steele earned 80 FedExCup points and $179,800 in official prize money. He now has earned 583 FedExCup points and $987,888 in official prize money so far this season, which should be well more than enough to win both his tour ticket and a berth in The Players Championship for 2016. Last year, $752,000 was needed to earn 125th spot on the money list and entry into this year's Players, while 438 FedExCup points were needed to earn 125th on that list and a player card for this season.
Steele has moved back into the top 30 on the FedExCup list, with a ranking of 28th. Only those players ranking 30th or higher after the BMW Championship, the third tournament in the season-ending playoffs, advance to the finale: the Tour Championship. And just being in the field for the Tour Championship earns a bearth in the next Masters.
Steele will play this week in the $6.6 million Shell Houston Open in Humble, Texas. Check the Town Crier website or app late Tuesday afternoon for his Thursday and Friday tee times.
Jack Clark can be reached at [email protected]