Steele stretches lead at Valero Texas Open


LOS ANGELES: Brendan Steele made the most of a rain-softened TPC San Antonio Oaks course on Friday (Saturday in Manila) to stretch his lead to three strokes in the weather-hit Texas Open.

Steele, whose only PGA Tour title came in the Texas Open in 2011, fired six birdies to counter two bogeys and a double-bogey at the 15th to post a two-under par 70 in the second round.

His 10-under total of 134 matched the tournament’s 36-hole low set by fellow American Ben Curtis in 2012.

“I always feel good here. “The course sets up really well for me and it kind of plays into my strengths, which is usually driving the ball.

Steele had a three-shot lead over Australian Stuart Appleby and Americans Scott Langley and Charley Hoffman.

Appleby also signed for a 70, Langley carded a 68 and Hoffman posted a 71.

Hoffman had closed within one stroke of Steele’s lead with an eagle at the par-five second — his 11th hole of the day, but bogeyed two of his last four holes to drop into a tie for second.

For the second straight day darkness halted play before the round was complete.

Steele had surged to the lead at eight-under through 13 holes when play was halted on Thursday.

On Friday morning he returned to par his last five holes in a first-round 64 that left him with a one-shot lead.

The halfway cut was projected to fall at even-par 144. Among those destined to miss it was five-time major champion Phil Mickelson on 148.

Defending champion Jimmy Walker was also headed for the exit after rounds of 75 and 77.

The trio sharing third were one shot in front of a group of seven on 138 — South Korean Kang Sung and Americans Ricky Barnes, Patrick Reed, Ryan Palmer, Jon Curran, Mark Wilson and Peter Malnati.

It was a further stroke back to England’s Luke Donald and Americans Brandt Snedeker and Spencer Levin on 139.



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