Brendan Steele fired a 4-under-par 34-34 — 68 Sunday at the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to tie for third place, his first top-five finish of the new season.
For the third consecutive round, the Idyllwild native was perfect, this time with four birdies. He posted only two bogies all week, both in the first round.
Once again, he pulled off a fabulous shot at the par-4 12th hole. This time, Brendan’s third shot had to be played from the steeply sloped grass above a green-side bunker, with his ball threatening to tumble onto the sand below. The Golf Channel commentators related that his next shot would be tremendously difficult in that it required him to bend over almost double, reaching for the ball well below his feet on a steep slope, and that the heel of the club head often caught in such situations, causing the club face to close, resulting in the ball flying left.
Players don’t practice these kind of shots, they said. But Brendan popped the ball cleanly onto the green and stopped it only a few feet from the pin, a result that the commentators variously characterized as “amazing,” “stupendous” and “incredible,” given the lie of the ball. Then he canned the putt for a great par recovery.
For the tournament, Brendan hit more than two-thirds of the fairways with drives, and he reached a whopping 86 percent of the greens in regulation. He required fewer than 30 putts per round. Other stats are not available.
Brendan’s third-place finish earned 162.5 FedExCup points, giving him 213 so far this early season; he now stands eighth in the PGA Tour in points. He also earned $406,000 in official prize money. He improved his Official World Golf Ranking from 81st to 71st.
B has this week off, but is expected to play next week in the $6.2 million OHL Classic at Mayakoba, Mexico.