Steele bolts into one-shot lead at Travelers

Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:19pm EDT
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(Reuters) - American Brendan Steele eagled his opening hole and raised hopes of firing a magical 59 before finishing with an eight-under-par 62 in Thursday's opening round at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Steele, who moved to eight under after just 13 holes before closing with five successive pars, ended the day with a one-stroke lead over compatriots Ryan Moore and Bud Cauley at the TPC River Highlands.

Americans Chad Campbell, Joe Durant, Jeff Maggert, Scott Langley and Eric Axley carded 64s while 2010 winner and reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson opened with a 67.

Steele, who won his only PGA Tour title at the 2011 Texas Open, made a sizzling start as he holed out from 129 yards to eagle the par-four first.

He then birdied the second, seventh and eighth, where he drained a 27-footer, to reach the turn in five-under 30 before picking up further shots at the 11th, 12th and 13th.

"The thoughts crept in," Steele, 31, told reporters about the opportunity to shoot a 59 with three more birdies required over his last five holes. "If they don't creep in, do I shoot 59, do I shoot 65?

"It definitely was in the back of my mind, so probably amped me up a little bit more, so made everything a little bit tougher."

Steele was delighted, though, to reap reward on Thursday after playing some good golf over the past few months without getting the scores he felt he deserved, including missed cuts in his previous two tournaments.

"I haven't been getting a lot out of it," said the Californian, who has recorded just two top-10s in 18 starts on the 2013-14 PGA Tour, his best finish a tie for sixth at the Phoenix Open in February.   Continued...

Brendan Steele tees off on the sixteenth hole during the second round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports - RTR3NLNA