Brendan Steele seizes control at Sony Open


HONOLULU (AP) – Brendan Steele went from lagging behind to seizing control Saturday in the Sony Open when he birdied his last three holes for a 6-under 64 to take a three-shot lead into the final round.

Steele had a share of the lead to start the day, with 23 players separated by four shots.

Now he’s at 12-under 198, and only Cameron Smith (66) is within three of the lead. Steele will be going for his fourth PGA Tour victory, and first since repeating at the Safeway Open in the fall of 2017.

Each day, the wind has lost a little strength. Each day, the top score has been a little lower.

Steel, Kevin Kisner and Mark Anderson each shot 64. Kisner was tied for the lead when he finished his round, feeling a lot better about his chances than the previous week at Kapalua, a big golf course where power players thrive. Kisner is more about iron play, and Waialae suits him well.

He just wasn’t expecting Steele to take off the way he did.

Steele went from a share of the lead to two shots behind when he went long of the green on the third and fourth holes, both time making bogey. He was still trailing when his round turned on the par-5 ninth with a second shot into 8 feet for eagle. He added two birdies early on the front nine, and then had his big finish.

Smith, who made his Presidents Cup debut last month and beat Justin Thomas in singles, did well just to stay in the game. He was even par for the day through 13 holes, four shots behind, when he birdied four of his last five holes.

The way Steele played, that only allowed Smith to cut into the lead by one shot.

Webb Simpson had a 66 and was five shots behind, along with former Sony Open winner Ryan Palmer and Collin Morikawa, who each had a 68.

Brendan Steele waves to the gallery after saving par on the first green during the third round of the Sony Open PGA Tour golf event, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Matt York)