Brendan Steele fired a 10-under-par 65-67-70-72 — 274 last week on the TPC Scottsdale course in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. That was good enough for a tie for 16th place, his fifth top-20 finish in only seven events this season. He also has three top-10s, consisting of two sixths and a win, and has made the cut in all seven tournaments he entered.
As usual, the Idyllwild native’s strong suit was tee-to-green, where he gained 6.731 strokes against the field. But his putter did not help, giving away 0.463 strokes to the field. By comparison, when he won the Safeway Open in Napa earlier this season, his putting gained 1.636 strokes against the field.
Brendan gained 46 FedExCup points last week, bringing his season total to 827 thus far, keeping him in fourth place on the points list. Our information is that he needs to still be in the top 10 on the FedExCup points list on Feb. 20, to guarantee entry into the prestigious $9.75 million World Golf Championships Mexico Championship (formerly the Cadillac Championship) on March 2.
Brendan moved up from 55th to 54th in the Official World Golf Ranking, which is important because breaking into the top 50 automatically means entry into various high-level tournaments. The OWGR is based on the past two years of performance, so each Monday a week drops off his 2015 season as a week is added in 2017.
He also earned nearly $91,000 in official prize money in Phoenix last week.
Brendan is taking this week off.