Duncan steals Safeway lead with eagle

Brendan Steele and Chesson Hadley were being congratulated in the clubhouse when rookie Tyler Duncan came along at the end of the day to steal the show, and the lead.

Duncan holed out from 46 feet for eagle on the final hole to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion Steele, while Hadley fired a course-record 11-under-par 61 and is two back midway through the Safeway Open on the North Course at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet because I’m just happy to be here playing,” Duncan, who didn’t officially get his PGA Tour card until Monday, said after bouncing back from three straight bogeys early on his back nine. “I’ve been dreaming about for a long time and having the lead is something I’ll never forget. It’s just crazy.

“I played good golf for most of the day and just tried not to get down on myself (after those bogeys). There’s a lot of opportunity for birdies out there and I just wanted to give myself some chances coming in. I feel pretty good and I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

The 28-year-old Duncan, who earned his PGA Tour card by finishing 15th on the Web.com Tour money list last season but has never won as a pro, shot 66 and has a 36-hole total of 13-under 131.

Steele, trying to repeat in the PGA Tour season-opener, collected three birdies on each nine and made his only bogey at No. 11 in a 67.

“It was a real solid day, about the same as yesterday, and it was fun to watch Chesson go crazy,” said Steele, from Idyllwild and UC Riverside. “It’s always good to have that type of mojo in the group.

“I’m hitting the ball well and rolling it well, too. Just want to keep doing what I’ve been doing, pedal to the metal on the weekend.”

Hadley, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2014 Puerto Rico Open, started at No. 10 and collected five birdies in the first eight holes before sinking a 22-foot eagle putt on the ninth hole.

He added five birdies on the back before closing with two pars and his only bogey came at No. 6.

“Once I got the momentum, things just kept going my way,” said Hadley, who lost his PGA Tour card last year, but got it back by winning the LECOM Health Challenge and Albertson Boise Open while leading the Web.com Tour money title. “It’s just nice to play well and have a chance going into the weekend. … When you get going like that, it’s like magic. I was really seeing the line on my putts.

“I knew I had a chance for 59, needed birdies on the last two holes or par-eagle. I had an opportunity, but it just didn’t happen. I’m certainly pleased with the way I played and I’m happy with 11-under-par.”

Tony Finau birdied four of his last seven holes in a 65 that left him four shots behind in a tie for fourth with Zac Blair, who recorded three birdies on each nine in a bogey-free 66.

Brian Davis of England birdied seven of the last 10 holes to post a 66 and is another shot back in a tie for sixth with Graham DeLaet of Canada, who made three birdies down the stretch in a 67.

Bill Haas birdied seven of his first 13 holes in a 65 and is six strokes down in a tie for eighth with Andrew Putnam (66) of Pepperdine, Martin Flores (67), Kevin Streelman (68), Harold Varner III (68), Chez Reavie (70) and Emiliano Grillo (70) of Argentina, who won at Silverado in 2015.

Phil Mickelson posted a second 69 and is seven back in a tie for 15th.

For complete results visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected


Latest Articles