Brendan Steele moved up the leaderboard Saturday with a 35-35 -- 70 after an up, down and up again type round.
The native Idyllwilder began the round strongly with a birdie three on the 416-yard, par 4 No. 10 hole, and he captured another bird on the 614-yard, par-5 13th. But he bogeyed the 15th when his drive came to rest against a large tree trunk in the left rough, and he had to pitch out sideways into the fairway. He also bogeyed No. 1 (his 10th hole Saturday) when his second shot found the greenside rough and he took three to get down from there. But he reached the par-5 6th hole in two and two-putted from 63 feet for another bird.
After 15 holes, he hadn’t sunk a putt longer than 5 feet. But then at the par-4 7th hole, after his second shot found the greenside bunker, he blasted out to 11 feet and dropped the resulting putt to save par.
A missed 8-footer for what would have been another birdie at hole No. 8 was disappointing, but he made up for it big time when he closed out his round at the 614-yard, par-5 9th by draining a 38-foot putt for a birdie 4.
Brendan is now tied for 34th place going into Sunday’s final round. He’s at 3 under par, six shots off the lead.
By the way, there were some very big names who were cut after Friday’s round, including Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Jimmy Walker, Rickie Fowler and Tiger Woods.
Brendan tees off No. 1 tomorrow, Sunday, at 8:15 a.m. PST.
Jack Clark can be reached at [email protected]