Brendan Steele’s outstanding play gave way Sunday, and a dozen-plus players stormed up the leaderboard and dislodged him into a tie for 17th place. The native Idyllwilder could muster only a 4-over-par 76 Sunday as he posted a 10-under-par 63-70-69-76 — 278 for the tournament.
One problem area Sunday appears to have been driving accuracy at only 57.14 percent, which probably led to hitting only 50 percent of the greens in regulation, and he got no help from his putter, which yielded 2.172 strokes to the field, despite sinking a 26-foot putt at No. 10.
Still, he opened the new 2016 season with a top-20 performance that earned 50 FedExCup points — and he most probably sharpened his appetite for top-of-the-leaderboard standings. And he did post a fine eagle at No. 5 Sunday with a beautiful 53-foot chip in from the rough.
Brendan is listed in the field for this week’s Shriners Hospitals For Children Open in Las Vegas. Check back with the Town Crier online to learn his tee times for Thursday and Friday.