By David McPherson, Special to PGATOUR.COM
OAKVILLE, Ontario -- On a blue sky day perfect for scoring, Brendan Steele took advantage of his opportunities, posting a 65 for the low round of the morning.
The 30-year-old, who currently sits 97th in the FedExCup standings, admitted it was the most complete round he’s played all year.
“Overall, it was a good day,” Steele said. “I hit a lot of good shots and was able to hole a lot of putts. I also didn’t miss many greens or hit many shots offline and I was able to roll a few putts in.”
Roll them in the Californian did.
He had 28 putts for the round. More importantly was his ability to get his approach shots close, hitting 15 of 18 greens in regulation.
Another key for Steele was staying out of Glen Abbey’s deceptive rough for most of his round, hitting nine of 14 fairways. On a day of perfect conditions, was one of the few defenses the course offered.
It was this gnarly rough that might have prevented Matt Kuchar from a record round. Kuchar, currently ranked third both in FedExCup points and earnings, is just a shot back of Steele after a 66 that included an included an eagle on the par-5 18th (his ninth) at Glen Abbey.
With a large crowd following him in the early afternoon on Thursday, the 35-year-old looked relaxed and confident. His only hiccup came on the difficult sixth after finding the rough.
“Six is a hard hole,” he said. “The rough can be really penalizing. I hit my drive into the left rough. I had a good lie and was able to get it to the green, but I caught a flier and it ran through the green and into the crowd, into some trampled down, matted-down rough, which is difficult in figuring out the grain and how the ball is going to come out.
“I hit a poor chip that didn’t even get to the green. There was more rough and more grain than I had accounted for and it came up short.”