Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Golf

Brendan Steele wins PGA Tour's opener, Safeway Open

NAPA, Calif. — Brendan Steele rallied to successfully defend his Safeway Open title, closing with 3-under 69 Sunday for a two-stroke victory over Tony Finau in the PGA Tour's season opener.

Phil Mickelson and Chesson Hadley finished three shots behind.

Two strokes behind surprising leader Tyler Duncan entering the day, Steele birdied the par-5 16th and 18th, holing a 3-footer on 18.

Steele, 34, from the Southern California mountain town of Idyllwild, finished at 15-under 273 for his third PGA title.

Finau, whose lone victory came in the 2016 Puerto Rico Open, tied for the lead with Steele at 14 under with birdie on the par-4 13th. But he double-bogeyed the par-4 14th. After pars on 16 and 17, Finau had a 40-foot eagle putt on the 18th and settled for birdie and 69.

Mickelson, who began the round four shots off the lead, birdied the 16th from 10 feet to move within one shot of Steele. But Mickelson, winless since the 2013 British Open, bogeyed 17 before birdieing 18 for 70.

Hadley finished with 73. He had a course-record 61 in the second round.

Duncan, a rookie who began the round with a one-stroke lead over Hadley, had five bogeys on the front nine and finished with 75 to tie for fifth with Graham DeLaet (72) at 11 under.

PGA EUROPE: Tyrrell Hatton retained his title at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland after a final round at St. Andrews in which Ross Fisher shot a course-record 61 at the home of golf. On a calm day on the storied Old Course, even a bogey-free round by Fisher containing 11 birdies could not reel in overnight leader Hatton, who shot 6-under 66 for a three-stroke victory over his fellow Englishman. Hatton became the first player Dunhill Links' 17-year history to successfully defend the title in a tournament played over three Scottish courses — the Old Course, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie. His 24-under 264 total was a tournament record.

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