Steele Steals Safeway Open
By Peter Santo
While a vulnerable golfer named Tiger Woods bailed on the event at the last minute, there was certainly plenty of talent gathered in Napa, California for the season-opening Safeway Open.
And while all of America was watching football, there was an excellent battle down the stretch between Patton Kizzire and Brendan Steele to keep us golf fans entertained.
Kizzire lit the Web.com Tour on fire two years ago, bagging multiple wins and finishing first on the money list to earn a promotion to the PGA Tour. After a rookie year in which he played well enough to make the Deutsche Bank Championship and keep his card, it appeared Kizzire was ready to make his move on the game’s biggest stage.
Playing with a new hat after giving his to me at the Deutsche Bank, the Auburn alum lit it up at Silverado, making 19 birdies thru 54 holes. The way Patton was playing, it appeared as if his first win would come on Sunday.
However there were two things we didn’t account for, a guy named Brendan Steele, and the realization of just how difficult it is to win for the first time on Tour.
Steele made all the birdies Kizzire needed on Sunday, including birdies on 16, 17, and 18 en route to a Sunday 65 and the victory. When Kizzire’s chip shot at the 72nd hole didn’t fall, Steele had bagged his second PGA Tour win, and his first since the 2011 Valero Texas Open.
While Steele definitely went out and won this golf tournament, Kizzire could’ve put him away on the back nine. While Steele was birdieing the easy holes on the back side, Kizzire was struggling to make par. This kept him from playing the aggressive golf he needed to play in order to win.
Even though he didn’t get it done this time around, there is plenty to learn from and we can all see that Kizzire has plenty of upside, there is no question he has what it takes to win on the PGA Tour. WDE!!!
As for Brendan Steele, good for him for finally getting it done on Sunday, the guy deserved this win.