Defending champion Brendan Steele shares Safeway Open lead
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 08/10/17 7:57am
Defending champion Brendan Steele fired a seven-under 65 to grab a share of the early lead after the opening round of the Safeway Open.
Steele mixed six birdies and an eagle with a sole blemish at Silverado Country Club to set the pace alongside fellow Americans Tyler Duncan and Tom Hoge.
Emiliano Grillo, the 2016 winner, lies in a four-way tie for third following an opening-round 67, with Zach Johnson in the group on four under and Phil Mickelson four off the pace.
Beginning on the back nine, Steele holed from three feet at the 12th and rolled in a 12-foot birdie at the next before posting a hat-trick of gains from the 16th.
A favourable bounce presented Steele a close-range eagle at the par-five fifth, with the world No 59 cancelling out a three-putt bogey at the sixth with a birdie on his final hole.
"A little bit of everything worked for me today," Steele 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.
Duncan birdied his final three holes to also get to seven under, as Hoge made it a three-way tie at the top by closing his blemish-free card with six gains in his final seven holes.
Grillo reached the turn level-par but birdied the 10th and added four more over his final five holes, with Lucas Glover, Chez Reavie and Jamie Lovemark also on five under.
Mickelson birdied his final hole to close a three-under 69, as Sangmoon Bae carded a one-over 73 on his return to the PGA Tour after serving military service in his native South Korea.
Watch the Safeway Open throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf. Live coverage continues on Friday from 10.30pm.