Brendan Steele well placed in California


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Defending champion Brendan Steele is well positioned to challenge for glory at this week’s Safeway Open after moving into a share of the lead during Thursday’s opening round.

The 34-year-old claimed his second PGA Tour title at the event 12 months ago and has picked up where he left off this week, carding a seven-under-par score of 65 to move into contention.

The American’s round included an eagle, six birdies and a bogey and he is now level at the top of the leaderboard with compatriots Tyler Duncan and Tom Hoge.

Steele, who is priced at 8.00 to successfully defend his title, believes things could not have gone any better during his opening round.

“A little bit of everything worked for me today,” he said. “I had a really good ball-striking day.

I don’t think I missed a green so that really helps. And then I had a good putting day as well so you put that together and it’s going to be pretty good.”

A quartet of players – Lucas Glover, Chez Reavie, Emiliano Grillo and Jamie Lovemark – are two shots behind the leaders on five-under while tournament debutante Zach Johnson is a shot further back after a low-scoring opening day in California.

Phil Mickelson is four shots off the lead on three-under, with a birdie at the 18th boosting his chances ahead of Friday’s second round.

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