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Brendan Steele shoots final round 69 to defend title at the Safeway Open

October 08, 2017

Robert Laberge

For the second straight year, Brendan Steele entered the final round of the Safeway Open lurking a few shots off the lead, needing a low round to contend. Last season, he delivered with a seven-under 65 that erased a four-shot deficit for his second PGA Tour victory. On Sunday at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif., he didn't need a 65, but his final-round three-under 69 was good enough to come back from two shots and defend his title with a 72-hole total of 15-under 273 to begin the 2017-'18 PGA Tour season.

Steele, 34, cruised on the front nine, going out in three-under 33. After dropping shots at the 12th and 14th, his lead shrunk to just one shot, with Phil Mickelson and Tony Finau making a charge. But Steele finished strong, making birdies at the par-5 16th and par-5 18th to win by two shots for the third victory of his career. He's the first player in the Safeway Open's 11-year history to win back-to-back.

After making eagle at the par-5 fifth and birdies at the ninth and 13th, Finau found himself just one off Steele's lead. But his drive at the 14th was way off line, leading to a double-bogey 6. His final-round three-under 69 earned him a solo second finish at 13-under 275.

Mickelson, 47, also got within a shot of the lead after making birdie at the par-5 16th, and hilariously mocking himself in the process. But he made his third bogey of the day at the following hole, and finished with a two-under 70 to tie for third at 12-under 276.

Also finishing at 12 under was Chesson Hadley, who carded a final round one-over 73. It's his fourth top-five finish in 46 starts on the PGA Tour.

Graham DeLaet and PGA Tour rookie Tyler Duncan, the leader after 54 holes, finished in a tie for fifth at 11-under 277.