Rapid reaction: Steele's win in Texas
Brendan Steele didn't have a golf course in his small hometown of Hemet, Ca.
He didn't even have a range to practice on.
But on Sunday, Steele realized his dream of winning on the PGA Tour, holding off Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell on the back nine at the Texas Valero Open, winning the title with a final-round 71 to finish at 8 under for the tournament.
Steele clinches spots in the Players Championship next month and the Masters in 2012 with the victory.
Brandt Snedeker made a run at the title, but finished two shots back, while Fredrik Jacobson and Pat Perez finished T-5.
Five quick takeaways from this week's tournament at TPC San Antonio:
1) Nerves of Steele: Despite holding the final-round lead for the first time on the PGA Tour, Steele had only one bogey in the final round. He was T-2 in birdies for the tournament with 17, while also finding success with his driver, finishing T-7 in driving accuracy at 64.3%. He was T-2 in putts per round with an average of 26.
2) In unfamiliar territory: Steele, Chappell and Cameron Tringale made up the final group and none were ranked above Steele's No. 231 in the Official World Golf Rankings. Chappell is currently No. 270, while Tringale isn't ranked. Tringale was No. 532 in 2010.
3) No gray area with him: Say this about Brandt Snedeker, he either gets a late starting time on the weekend or he doesn’t get one at all. Playing in his 10th tournament of the year Snedeker finished fourth, his fourth top 10 of the year, in addition to a solid T-15 at last week’s Masters. Pretty impressive. But when he hasn’t finished inside the top 15, Snedeker has been . . . well, outside the cut. He’s missed four times and had to withdraw another time, so it seems that he’s not one who wants to just play Saturday and Sunday if it means finishing T-47.
4) Fade from view: Oh, how things were all so splendid Thursday with J.J. Henry and Stewart Cink. Both in search of strong tournaments to snap them out of lengthy funks, they each had bogey-free scorecards and rounds of 67 to set the pace. But from zero bogeys Henry made 13 over the next 36 holes, shooting 78-77 to crash from contention. And Cink? He had five birdies the first day, but just five over the next 54 holes to morph into Stewart Sink.
5) Welcome back: Mixed results for a pair of guys who’ve been missing the from the PGA Tour scene for a while. Bob Estes, who finished 132nd on the money list in 2010, made his first start of 2011 after having been sidelined with a thumb injury. He made the cut, but faded to a 73rd. Meanwhile, Carl Paulson was playing just his third tournament of the year after having been off the PGA Tour with back injuries since 2005. Paulson, 40, is playing on a major medical exemption and needs to earn $428,522 in 10 more starts to maintain exempt status.