Brendan Steele posted a 12-under-par 70-66-67-73 — 276 last week to finish tied for 43rd in the American Express tournament in La Quinta.
After six holes on Sunday, the Idyllwild native had birdied four holes and was tied for fourth place. But on the 7th tee, he hit the first of three balls into the water in his final round — each with stroke-and-distance penalties that effectively added six strokes to his scorecard and wrecked his score for the day.
Those six strokes were the difference between his final placing and a top-10 finish in the tournament.
Steele’s putting was fine. On the two days he played the Stadium Course (the only course on which detailed putting records were kept) he gained an average of 2.220 strokes per day against the field putting while canning putts of 11, 13, 20, 24 and 27 feet. Over the entire 72 holes, he had 31 one-putt greens and no greens where he needed more than two putts.
Steele is currently ranked 29th on the FedExCup points list, the same as last week.
Steele plays this week in the $7.5 million Farmers Insurance Open on the Torrey Pines courses in La Jolla. He tees off Thursday from tee No. 1 on the North course at 10:30 a.m. and Friday from tee No. 10 on the South course at 9:30 a.m. He’ll play with Sung Kang and Kevin Stadler both days.