Almost a year ago, Brendan Steele kicked off his PGA Tour season with a victory at the Safeway Open, the second of his career. It set up his entire season, one where he played in all four majors and three World Golf Championships, and made a career high $2.9 million in earnings. He's looking to do it all over again this year at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, Ca., this week, posting a first-round seven-under 65 to grab a share of the lead.
Steele, 34, began his round on the back nine of Silverado's North Course, going out in five-under 31. After making four straight pars on the front nine, he took an aggressive line over a tree at the par-5 fifth on his 200-yard approach shot, which found the green, leading to a tap-in eagle. Steele dropped his only shot of the day at the following hole, but got it back with a birdie at the par-5 ninth, his final hole of the day. The California native hit all 18 greens on Thursday, and 12 of 14 fairways.
Tied with Steele at seven under is Tyler Duncan, who is playing in just his second PGA Tour event and the first since the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. Duncan spent the last three seasons on the Web.com Tour, registering four finishes inside the top-5 over that span.
Tom Hoge is also at seven under, carding the only bogey-free round of the trio in the lead. Hoge, 28, is beginning his fourth season on the PGA Tour and is searching for his first career victory. It's his third appearance in the Safeway Open, an event he's yet to play the weekend in.
Four players are two back at five-under, including 2009 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover, who is entering his 15th season on the PGA Tour. Glover put together a resurgent season in 2016-2017, finishing inside the top-10 four times, making nearly $2 million and advancing to the third leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Among a group at four under are Zach Johnson, Ryan Moore and Maverick McNealy, who is making his professional debut this week.
Phil Mickelson, fresh off his record breaking performance at the Presidents Cup, posted a three-under 69 and sits just four back.