Brendan Steele last week at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. photo by jack clark

Plays in Houston Open this week

Brendan Steele posted a 14-under-par 68-69-68-65 — 270 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last week in Las Vegas to tie for 29th place. Considering that about 165 of some of the best players in the world enter each PGA Tour event, a 29th placing is impressive. The Idyllwild native posted 20 birdies against only 6 bogeys all week, including a whopping 11 birdies while going bogey free over his closing 27 holes.
A bit of a shaky start brought Steele to his 36th green Friday afternoon where he faced a nerve-testing 3 foot, 1 inch putt — if he made it, he went on to play the weekend and if he missed it, he and all his fans went home. With no hesitation, he rapped that putt firmly in the front door of the hole.
From there, his game turned around. Steele’s Saturday third round began birdie-birdie, then hit a rough stretch of four bogeys over his remaining first nine. However, he took hold over his final nine, posting five birdies against no bogeys to stand at 8-under-par going into Sunday’s final round. In that fourth round, Steele marked up six more birdies during a bogey-free sparkling round of 65.
On the week, Steele’s drives averaged 312.4 yards while finding 75% of the fairways. He hit an impressive 79.17% of the greens in regulation and lost little more than one-fifth of a stroke against the field putting. On Sunday, he actually gained 1.231 stroke in that last category. Over the four days, Steele drained 10 putts of 10 feet or more in length, including putts of 32, 26 and 24 feet.
This fine showing moved Steele up 13 places on the FedExCup list, from 87th to 74th. He needs to be in the top 125 by the end of this season next August to earn his PGA Tour card for the 2020/21 season. Striding to the scoring trailer after Sunday’s 33-32 round of 65, the Idyllwild native exuded a well-earned confidence going forward that was fine to see.
Besides the Town Crier, Steele was supported in person by one former Idyllwild local who wished to remain unidentified, but who certainly was enthusiastic and cheered on Steele. And, of course, Steele’s Montreal superfans, André Pilon and wife Pierrette Filion, walked with him every round.
Steele looks forward to keeping his momentum going this week at the Houston Open on the Golf Club of Houston course in Texas. He’ll tee off Thursday at 10:35 a.m. PDT and Friday at 5:45 a.m. PDT playing both days with Grayson Murray and Patton Kizzire.