At the French Open last week, Brendan Steele was closing in on a well-earned trip to The (British) Open at St. Andrews in two weeks, but the golf gods had other ideas. A ball in the water, and the native Idyllwilder triple-bogeyed the 71st hole, a par 4.
Brendan did come back to birdie the 72nd and final hole, but he pulled up two strokes shy of the Major tournament at St. Andrews. Had he only bogeyed the 71st hole instead of tripling it, he would have finished alone in 5th place and won a spot in The Open.
Such are the brutal realities of top-flight professional golf. Montreal Super-fan, André Pilon, perhaps put it best when he emailed Brendan afterward to tell him that these are hard hits to take, but a champion always fights his way back.
And there is no doubt that Brendan will be back.
For the tournament, he posted a 4-under par 72-69-67-72 — 280 to earn a fine tie for 6th. He won no FedExCup points for this high finish because the Alstom Open de France is a PGA European Tour tournament rather than a (U.S.) PGA Tour event.
Although the French Open will not count in official PGA Tour statistics, it was his 4th top-10 and 9th top-25 finish of this season, and he moved from 98th up to 92nd in the Official World Golf Rankings. He's made 16 cuts in 19 starts this season.
After finishing at the French Open on Sunday, Brendan told the Town Crier he intended to play this week in the Scottish Open at the Gullane Golf Club in Gullane, a small town about the size of Idyllwild, near Edinburgh, Scotland. The Scottish Open website relates that Brendan’s top-10 finish in the French Open had earned him a berth in the Scottish. So he still could gain entry to The Open with a high finish at Gullane; entries in The Open go to the leading three players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 10 and ties at the Scottish Open.
Check back with the towncrier.com website or the Town Crier’s smartphone app for Brendan’s Scottish Open tee times starting Thursday, or even late Wednesday night, our time. You can then follow Brendan’s play, hole by hole, on the live leaderboard at the europeantour.com website. Of course, the Town Crier’s app and website will publish a summary of Brendan’s play after each round.
Jack Clark may be reached at [email protected]