Steele wins Texas Open by a strokeSAN ANTONIO - Rookie Brendan Steele shot a 1-under 71 on Sunday, overcoming relentless wind and fellow first-year PGA Tour player Kevin Chappell to win the Texas Open by a stroke.
Leading by a stroke heading into the final round, Steele, 28, stayed steady throughout the day and finished at 8-under. He gave a small fist pump and smiled to celebrate his first Tour victory after holing out on 18.
“I was a lot more calm today,” Steele said. “When you’ve got the one shot lead it’s not even your tournament. There’s so many guys that could still win with a good round, without you even doing anything wrong, so I didn’t feel as much pressure.”
The tournament featured the Tour’s highest scoring average, 73.665, this year and Steele’s 280 overall was the highest winning score at the Texas Open since a 283 won in 1934.
Steele birdied the par-5 second hole, dropping his approach from a bunker to within 10 feet of the pin, then bogeyed the par-4 No. 5, leaving a 12-foot putt from the fringe short. But Steele put his tee shot within three feet of the hole on par-3 No. 7 to move back to 8 under.
That’s where he finished. Steele, whose previous best finish was tied for 17th at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego in January, could have padded his lead on No. 9 but left a 17-foot putt short. He then missed a couple of other makable birdie putts on the back nine, including one that was 6-inches off on the par-3 16th.
Instead, he settled for 12 straight pars and it was enough to hold off Chappell, who had two birdies on the front nine, then put his second shot to within seven feet on the par-4 No. 10 to grab a share of the lead.
Chappell, 24, then stayed tied with Steele through seven holes but hit his 2nd shot on the par-4 17th well right of the hole and then couldn’t make a 10-foot put to save par.
“I’ll be honest, I think I just fell asleep,” said Chappell. “I felt the wind was dead into me ... I should have known it was a little left to right.”
It was the first time since the 2006 Phoenix Open that two Tour rookies finished 1-2 at a tournament. Another rookie, Charl Schwartzel, won last week at the Masters, making this the first time rookies have won back-to-back since 2002.
Players in their 20s have won three of the last four PGA Tour events and four of the last six. A player in his 30s has not won since Rory Sabbatini at the Honda Classic. Asked about a leaderboard so full of relative unknowns, Steele shrugged.
“The guys who are household names now weren’t household names when they started,” said the Idyllwild, Calif., native. “You’ve got to make yourself a household name and you’ve got to start somewhere.”
한글 관련 기사 [일간스포츠]
무명의 신예 스틸, 생에 첫 PGA 우승
올해 PGA 투어 11개 대회에 출전해 6차례나 컷 탈락했던 무명의 신예가 생애 첫 우승컵을 들어올렸다. 2부 투어 출신인 브렌든 스틸(28·미국)이 주인공이다. 18일(한국시간) 미국 텍사스주 샌안토니오의 TPC샌안토니오 AT&T 오크스 코스(파72·7522야드)에서 열린 PGA 투어 발레로 텍사스오픈(총상금 620만 달러) 최종 4라운드.
스틸은 대회 마지막 날 버디 2개와 보기 1개를 묶어 1타를 줄이는데 그쳤지만 합계 8언더파 280타를 기록해 공동 2위 찰리 호프먼, 케빈 채펠(이상 미국)을 1타 차로 따돌리고 정상에 올랐다. 스틸은 지난해까지 2부 투어인 네이션와이드 투어에서 활약한 선수다. 지난해 10월 네이션와이드 투어 마지막 대회로 열린 네이션와이드 투어 챔피언십에서 연장전 끝에 우승했다. 스틸은 이 덕분에 상금 랭킹 6위(34만6258달러)에 오르면서 PGA 정규 투어에 진출하는 행운을 누렸다.
스틸은 이번 우승으로 이제 무명의 서러움도 한방에 날렸다. 그는 지난 1월 파머스 인슈어런스 오픈에서 기록한 공동 17위가 올 시즌 최고 성적이었다. 또 돈방석에도 앉았다. 스틸은 2008년 2부 투어에 데뷔해 이번 시즌까지 3년 넘게 벌어들인 상금(66만6328달러)보다 두 배에 해당하는 우승상금(111만6000달러)을 손에 넣었다. 이번 대회에 출전한 한국 선수 가운데 유일하게 컷을 통과한 김비오(21·넥슨)는 4라운드에서 버디 5개와 보기 3개를 기록, 합계 5오버파 293타로 공동 51위에 머물렀다.