Late surge gives Steele the lead

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Brendan Steele birdied four of the last six holes on Saturday to seize the Valero Texas Open lead after the third round.

Brendan Steele birdied four of the last six holes on Saturday to seize the Valero Texas Open lead after the third round.

Steele will take a one-shot advantage over fellow American Cameron Tringale into the final round, thanks to a late run of birdies on 13, 14, 17 and 18.

Steele had led the tournament at one stage on Friday, before a double bogey at the 15th hole saw him fall back, but his superb third-round finish has vaulted him back to the top of the leaderboard.

Tringale matched Steele’s 68 on the day – the highlight of his round coming at the par-five 15th, where he eagled. He lead at that stage, but a bad finish on 18 cost him the lead.

“I drove it left. I figured if I hit a good drive … I’d be able to look at it in two, so I just swung hard,” he said.

“I laid up to a pretty good yardage and then just misjudged the wind, really. Came up short, which was a bad mistake, given all the room behind the hole.”

A further shot behind Tringale were Kevin Chappell and Brandt Snedeker, who both carded third-round 70s. Pat Perez, Charles Howell II and Adam Scott, the only non-American in the top seven, lie three shots off the pace.

With the winds that have hampered scoring all tournament set to return for Sunday’s final round, any of these players are still in with a very realistic chance of victory.

“There’s going to be good shots that don’t end up good and bad shots that end up worse,” Steele summed it up.

For the young American, it’s his first time leading heading into the final round of a PGA Tour tournament.

“I definitely haven’t been in this position,” he told pgatour.com, adding that a win “would validate a lot of things in my career as far being a guy that’s just trying to feel his way out here right now as a rookie.”

Tringale commented on the fact that there were a lot of youngsters and new names at the top of the pile this week.

“There’s a lot of younger players getting on Tour quicker now than there ever has been and I think that’s really been the difference,” he said.

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