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Safeway Open 2016

Round 4 - Brendan Steele seals narrow victory

October 17, 2016

On Sunday, Brendan Steele avenged a disappointing Sunday in California wine country from a year ago.

Steele won the Safeway Open at Silverado Resort in Napa, Calif., picking up his second PGA Tour win and first since his breakthrough victory at the 2011 Valero Texas Open. The California native finished with three consecutive birdies to pull off a one-stroke win over Patton Kizzire at 18-under 270.

A year ago, Steele led through 54 holes in the PGA Tour's season opener but closed with a 76 that dropped him into a tie for 17th place while Emiliano Grillo beat Kevin Na in a playoff for his first PGA Tour title. This time around, Steele opened the final round ó which came on Sunday after the third round was completed in the morning, and with a multi-hour weather delay around lunch time ó five back of the lead. Steele's finish capped off a closing 7-under 65 that set the mark for the final few threesomes to chase.

Paul Casey couldn't reach the 583-yard closing par 5 in two, ending his chances. Michael Kim couldn't hole out from 103 yards to make a tying eagle. Johnson Wagner faced a similar must-make situation with his third and couldn't convert after missing a make-able birdie putt on the prior hole.

It came down to Kizzire, who held together his game on the back nine using his putting stroke as the glue. He managed to salvage par after par, coming to the last needing a birdie to force a playoff. After he laid up to 140 yards for his third shot, Kizzire took a while to commit to the swing. When he pulled the trigger, Kizzire pushed his shot to the right, landing pin-high but in a gnarly lie 25 feet from the hole. Kizzire couldn't hole out the birdie chip, and that's when Steele had won.

The victory is important for Steele not only because it gets him off to a great start in a new season, but he also gets a two-season exemption, as well an invitation to the Masters and the PGA Championship next year.

Round 3 - Johnson Wagner takes over lead

October 16, 2016

Johnson Wagner avoided all the drama, and the bogeys, and came in from the rain holding a one-shot lead in the Safeway Open.

Wagner chipped in for birdie on No. 8 to start his climb from a three-shot deficit. He also rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 12. His best work before the third round was stopped by wet conditions, however, were the par saves.

''I was hanging on, hitting little quack hooks to the green but just somehow getting it up-and-down and making par putts, and really just trying to survive and make as many pars as I could.''

He was at 15-under par and facing a short iron into the par-5 16th when a sponge roller couldn't keep water off the front of the green, from where Scott Piercy was trying to play.

Piercy, who had been in the lead since his opening 62 that set the course record at Silverado, was at 14 under. Also at 14 under was Patton Kizzire, who was facing a 20-foot birdie putt on the 17th green.

The dark clouds drooping over the foothills in Napa Valley were the first signs of the peculiar day.

Paul Casey, who was two shots behind when play was halted, was making up ground on Piercy on the front nine until his tee shot clipped a tree, ricocheted somewhere and was never found. Fans indicated that it shot across the fairway and went out-of-bounds into some trees, but that wasn't his golf ball. Either way, the lost ball cost him two shots.

Piercy, who started the third round with a three-shot lead, hit a tee shot that was stymied by a tree, and when he walked up to play his third shot, another tree trunk blocked his path. He played back to the fairway and hit a superb pitch-and-run to 2 feet to limit the damage to a bogey.

The real pain was later.

Piercy missed a 6-foot birdie putt that was downhill with a wicked right-to-left break. He took a step toward the hole on the ninth for his birdie putt only to stop in his tracks when it spun around and out of the cup. He missed a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 10. And then on the par-3 11th, he watched his tee shot hit the base of the pin and carom off the green.

Through all his travails, he still was only one shot behind.

''I had a ball fly in the hole, I had a couple balls lip out,'' Piercy said. ''Just maybe a little off today as far as the scoring. But I gave myself lots of chances , and even though I didn't score well, I'm one back. I'm in a good spot.''

The third round was to resume Sunday morning, and starting times for the final round already had been moved up because of more rain forecast for the afternoon.

Martin Laird was 12 under through 16 holes. The best 54-hole scores posted belonged to Michael Kim (65) and Brendan Steele (67), who were at 11-under 205. Phil Mickelson hit a wild tee shot in the rain and made bogey on the par-5 closing hole for a third straight 69. He was six behind.

No person was more responsible for the PGA Tour's season-opening event having a decent chance to finish than JT Poston. In his first PGA Tour event, he holed an 8-foot birdie putt on his final hole for a 69 that moved the cut line to 3-under 141.

That meant 70 players made the cut. His birdie knocked out 16 players.

Piercy finished the second round Saturday morning with a 67 for a three-shot lead over Casey and Wagner.

Casey had another lost ball late in the second round, but this turned out much better. He was about 30 seconds away from abandoning the search when a spectator held up a ball with the Nike swoosh and a blue pen dot and said, ''Is this it?'' The spectator had found it in the hazard, so while Casey still had a one-shot penalty, he was able to drop away from the grandstands and save par for a 68.

Casey birdied the par-3 second hole in the third round from 6 feet, and he was on the verge of getting within one shot of Piercy with a 4-foot birdie putt on the next hole until he missed it. Two holes later, the lost ball led to double bogey.

Wagner, meanwhile, plodded along. He was short of the green on No. 8 when he chipped in for birdie, and his chip from short of the ninth green lipped out. He pulled within one shot of the lead with a short birdie on the 10th, and caught Piercy with a 30-foot birdie on the 12th.

Piercy fell out of the lead with a bogey from just off the 14th green.

Kizzire started the third round six shots behind and made up ground quickly with five birdies on the front nine, only one of them longer than 12 feet. He finally dropped back in the rain, three-putted the 14th when his birdie attempt rolled some 6 feet by.

Round 2 - Scott Piercy holds on to lead

October 15, 2016

Scott Piercy keeps finding ways to score even when he's not making a lot of putts.

Piercy pitched in from 40 yards for eagle on the par-5 ninth hole Friday, helping him keep a two-shot cushion at the rain-delayed Safeway Open until it became too dark to continue.

A steady rain that fell on Silverado for most of the bleak day halted the second round for 2 hours, 36 minutes as water began to pool on the tee boxes and the corners of the greens. The delay meant the second round could not be completed until Saturday morning.

Bill Haas had a 2-under 70 in the morning and finished 36 holes in 8-under 136.

Piercy, who opened with a course-record 62, made only one of his four birdie chances until his eagle at No. 9, and he followed with a 10-foot birdie on the next hole to reach 14-under par.

He missed a 5-foot birdie on the 12th hole, his last of the day.

Johnson Wagner was at 12 under and had a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-3 15th hole when he decided to wait until morning. Paul Casey, who opened with a 64, recovered from two bogeys late on his front nine with three birdies over his next four holes. He was 11 under through 12 holes, ending his day with a 35-foot birdie putt.

''In my mind, I wanted to shoot 3 under on the front,'' Piercy said. ''And luckily, I was able to do that.''

Piercy converted only one of four reasonable birdie chances, making a 7-foot putt on the par-5 fifth hole. The next par 5 was into the wind, though he was mildly surprised that a 3-wood came up so short of the green in the first cut.

''I had a good angle, though, kind of shooting straight up the green,'' he said. ''When you make it from 40 yards, it's luck. I hit a good shot. I landed it pretty much where I wanted to and it reacted good. Whenever it goes in, that's a bonus.''

No one from the afternoon starters finished the second round, which was to resume at 7:45 a.m. PDT. The third round was to be played in threesomes off both tees, though more rain was in the forecast for the weekend.

Haas was hopeful of at least staying close to the leaders. That depended on Piercy, Wagner and Casey, and perhaps a few others.

Haas was one of the ''replacements'' for Tiger Woods, in this case taking the spot that had been set aside for Woods in the early-round groups. Haas doesn't know why he was chosen. He just considered it a treat to be able to watch the exploits of Phil Mickelson and the rhythmic swing of defending Emiliano Grillo.

And they were able to watch Haas post the lowest score from the group.

Haas made it through the tough conditions brought on by rain Friday morning at least got him into the mix going into the weekend of the PGA Tour season opener at Silverado.

Haas was at 8-under 136, the low score among those who finished 36 holes. Mickelson had another 69 and was at 6-under 138. Grillo played bogey-free after the delay for a 70 and was at 5-under 139.

Woods had planned to play at Silverado and even entered the tournament on Friday. The PGA Tour decided to arrange the groups so that Woods played with Mickelson and Grillo. Woods, however, withdrew on Monday saying that his game was ''vulnerable'' and not where it needed to be.

Haas took that spot in the group, and all three have put on a good show.

Grillo had a 35-foot birdie putt that he left 10 feet short on the 11th hole, his second of the round, when the rain was at its worse. He made it through the back nine without any more mistakes, and then ran off three straight birdies on the front nine .

Mickelson returned from the rain delay in much worse shape. The driver slipped out of his hands on his first shot at the par-4 13th and led to a snap-hook out-of-bounds. He managed to make a 10-foot putt to escape with bogey .

Lefty made another bogey on the par-3 seventh when he pushed his tee shot left of the green, left of the gallery and next to a beer concession. From rain-soaked pine bark, he hit a flop to 12 feet and narrowly missed the putt. There were plenty of good shots, too, however, and Mickelson had control of his irons, which was key.

The greens were so soft from rain that it was critical not to spin the ball back too much around the hole.

''To be able to get the distance control right, the trajectory, the spin right on spongy greens and give myself as many birdies as I hit, I think this is some of the best iron play that I've had,'' Mickelson said. ''And then I hit a few wild ones, too, so I guess it's kind of my normal game.''

Round 1 - Scott Piercy leads with course record

October 14, 2016

Scott Piercy began the new PGA Tour season by pouring in putts and setting the course record at Silverado, a 10-under 62 for a two-shot lead Thursday in the Safeway Open.

Conditions were practically perfect in the morning, and Piercy took advantage. He made 12 birdies , only three of them from inside 10 feet, and he even missed a pair of birdie chances from inside 8 feet.

He wasn't alone in attacking Silverado.

Paul Casey, coming off a pair of runner-up finishes in the FedEx Cup playoffs that signaled a return to form, birdied his last three holes for a 64. Patton Kizzire also shot a 64.

Jon Rahm of Spain, who earned his PGA Tour card from sponsor exemptions last season after wrapping up his college career at Arizona State, began his PGA Tour career as a member in fine fashion. He made a hole-in-one - the first one of his life - on his second hole, the par-3 11th. His 7-iron from 173 yards flew straight into the cup.

''Very special moment,'' Rahm said. ''It was hard to believe. I actually thought it hit inside the hole and bounced out.''

Phil Mickelson , playing a domestic PGA Tour event in the fall for the first time in a decade, overcame a bogey-bogey start to post a 69, along with playing partner and defending champion Emiliano Grillo. Bill Haas was added to that group when Tiger Woods withdrew and showed no vulnerability in his game by posting a 66, the best score of the afternoon.

''I got off to a slow start. I wasn't as focused as I need to be,'' Mickelson said. ''But I put myself in a position where tomorrow if I can get hot on the greens - get perfect greens in the morning - get it going, shoot 6-, 7-, 8-under par and get right back in it for the weekend.''

Mickelson and Casey have had the best calendar years without winning based on the world ranking points they have earned. Mickelson is playing his final tournament of 2016, while Casey plans to play the next two in Asia before taking off the rest of the year.

Piercy, at least on paper, had one of his better years. He earned $2.9 million. He had a chance to win a major at the U.S. Open until Dustin Johnson pulled away at Oakmont, and Johnson beat him by one shot at a World Golf Championship.

But those runner-up finishes in big events covered up an atrocious year with the putter. Piercy was 156th in the most important putting statistic, which is what held him back most of the year.

It's what carried him Thursday. He holed a pair of 18-foot birdie putts on successive holes early in his round, and kept pouring them in, one after another, to offset a pair of bogeys from the bunkers on the par-4 third hole and the par-3 seventh late in his round.

''I think I made more feet of putts than I did all last season,'' he said. ''I've been working on the putter a lot and trying to get some things figured out. Today was a good start to the season, good start to get some confidence going with the putter.''

His power has always been there, and he showed that on the par-5 fifth hole when he blasted a drive over the trees along the line of the cart path, back to the fairway on the dogleg right. That left him only a 6-iron into the green, and he narrowly missed a 20-foot eagle attempt.

That was among the few putts he missed. Piercy's 62 was at least nine shots better than the course average.

Casey played in the group in front of Piercy and did his best to keep pace. He made eight birdies on a bogey-free day at Silverado. The big change for Casey was a new driver as he slowly transitions away from Nike, which is getting out of the equipment business.

Casey ended last season three weeks ago at the Tour Championship with a 64, and started the new one with a 64, so the time off didn't hurt him.

''I'm looking at this as a continuation of the year,'' he said. ''I know the slate's been wiped clean and we start the FedEx Cup all over again, but I'm looking at this to try to cap off my season. I've got three opportunities to try to win a golf tournament, and I haven't done that yet this year.''

Scores

1 USA Brendan Steele -18 - 67 71 67 65 270
2 USA Patton Kizzire -17 - 64 71 66 70 271
T3 ENG Paul Casey -16 - 64 68 71 69 272
T3 KOR Michael Kim -16 - 73 67 65 67 272
T3 USA Scott Piercy -16 - 62 67 73 70 272
T3 USA Johnson Wagner -16 - 65 67 70 70 272
7 USA Kevin Na -15 - 71 66 70 66 273
T8 USA Cody Gribble -14 - 67 69 70 68 274
T8 USA Chris Kirk -14 - 73 65 70 66 274
T8 SCO Martin Laird -14 - 67 68 68 71 274
T8 USA Phil Mickelson -14 - 69 69 69 67 274
T8 USA Justin Thomas -14 - 75 66 66 67 274
T13 KOR Whee-su Kim -13 - 69 71 66 69 275
T13 USA Gigi Stoll -13 - 69 69 69 68 275
T15 USA Derek Fathauer -12 - 68 68 74 66 276
T15 USA Troy Merritt -12 - 66 67 74 69 276
T15 ESP Jon Rahm -12 - 66 71 72 67 276
T15 USA Vaughn Taylor -12 - 70 67 74 65 276
T15 USA Harold Varner III -12 - 71 67 73 65 276
T20 USA Bill Haas -11 - 66 70 71 70 277
T20 USA Jamie Lovemark -11 - 70 71 70 66 277
T22 USA Keegan Bradley -10 - 69 72 71 66 278
T22 USA Trey Mullinax -10 - 69 67 73 69 278
T22 USA Chez Reavie -10 - 69 70 68 71 278
T22 USA Kyle Stanley -10 - 65 73 71 69 278
T26 NZL Steve Alker -9 - 71 69 72 67 279
T26 USA Ryan Blaum -9 - 69 68 71 71 279
T26 USA Jon Curran -9 - 68 72 70 69 279
T26 ZIM Brendon de Jonge -9 - 72 69 69 69 279
T26 USA Tony Finau -9 - 70 69 71 69 279
T26 USA Robert Garrigus -9 - 73 68 72 66 279
T26 ARG Fabian Gomez -9 - 71 70 70 68 279
T26 ARG Emiliano Grillo -9 - 69 70 71 69 279
T26 USA Luke List -9 - 70 68 71 70 279
T35 USA Dominic Bozzelli -8 - 70 71 69 70 280
T35 USA Joseph Bramlett -8 - 71 70 71 68 280
T35 USA Roberto Castro -8 - 69 72 70 69 280
T35 AUS Brett Drewitt -8 - 70 71 70 69 280
T35 USA Harris English -8 - 72 68 69 71 280
T35 USA Andres Gonzales -8 - 71 70 73 66 280
T35 USA Brandon Hagy -8 - 72 67 72 69 280
T35 USA John Huh -8 - 70 68 72 70 280
T35 USA Peter Malnati -8 - 67 72 71 70 280
T35 USA Kyle Reifers -8 - 71 69 74 66 280
T35 USA Tag Ridings -8 - 68 70 71 71 280
T35 AUS John Senden -8 - 70 70 71 69 280
T35 AUS Cameron Smith -8 - 70 70 70 70 280
T35 USA Nick Watney -8 - 71 69 73 67 280
T35 USA Richy Werenski -8 - 69 70 69 72 280
T50 USA Brian Campbell -7 - 68 70 70 73 281
T50 USA Bud Cauley -7 - 72 67 72 70 281
T50 USA Ken Duke -7 - 69 71 71 70 281
T50 USA Morgan Hoffmann -7 - 70 71 69 71 281
T50 NZL Danny Lee -7 - 73 67 73 68 281
T55 USA Wesley Bryan -6 - 71 70 69 72 282
T55 USA J.J. Spaun -6 - 70 67 75 70 282
T57 USA Ricky Barnes -4 - 71 70 72 71 284
T57 USA Chad Campbell -4 - 70 71 71 72 284
T57 USA JT Poston -4 - 72 69 78 65 284
T60 USA Will MacKenzie -3 - 69 69 72 75 285
T60 USA Xander Schauffele -3 - 71 68 69 77 285
T62 USA Zac Blair -2 - 71 69 71 75 286
T62 AUS Greg Chalmers -2 - 71 69 72 74 286
T62 KOR Seung-Yul Noh -2 - 67 72 72 75 286
T62 USA Hudson Swafford -2 - 67 74 75 70 286
T62 USA Kevin Tway -2 - 71 69 72 74 286
T67 AUS Aaron Baddeley -1 - 70 71 72 74 287
T67 USA J.J. Henry -1 - 68 72 72 75 287
69 USA Ryan Brehm Par - 73 68 77 70 288
70 USA Nicholas Lindheim 3 - 72 69 76 74 291
CUT USA Blayne Barber -2 - 73 69 - - 142
CUT SWE Jonas Blixt -2 - 70 72 - - 142
CUT USA Stewart Cink -2 - 72 70 - - 142
CUT USA Lucas Glover -2 - 71 71 - - 142
CUT RSA Retief Goosen -2 - 71 71 - - 142
CUT CAN Adam Hadwin -2 - 73 69 - - 142
CUT USA James Hahn -2 - 71 71 - - 142
CUT USA Russell Henley -2 - 69 73 - - 142
CUT USA Charley Hoffman -2 - 69 73 - - 142
CUT KOR Sung-Hoon Kang -2 - 70 72 - - 142
CUT USA Matt Kuchar -2 - 70 72 - - 142
CUT USA Bryce Molder -2 - 72 70 - - 142
CUT TWN Cheng-Tsung Pan -2 - 70 72 - - 142
CUT USA D.A. Points -2 - 70 72 - - 142
CUT IRL Seamus Power -2 - 73 - - - 73
CUT VEN Jhonattan Vegas -2 - 71 71 - - 142
CUT ARG Jason Etulain -1 - 68 75 - - 143
CUT ESP Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano -1 - 73 70 - - 143
CUT CAN Brad Fritsch -1 - 71 - - - 71
CUT USA Kelly Kraft -1 - 72 71 - - 143
CUT USA Collin Morikawa -1 - 74 69 - - 143
CUT USA Patrick Rodgers -1 - 68 75 - - 143
CUT USA Brett Stegmaier -1 - 70 73 - - 143
CUT USA Cameron Tringale -1 - 69 74 - - 143
CUT RSA Tyrone Van Aswegen -1 - 71 72 - - 143
CUT USA Bobby Wyatt -1 - 74 - - - 74
CUT USA Jason Bohn Par - 70 74 - - 144
CUT ARG Miguel Angel Carballo Par - 73 - - - 73
CUT USA Bryson DeChambeau Par - 70 74 - - 144
CUT USA Colt Knost Par - 74 70 - - 144
CUT USA Gregor Main Par - 69 - - - 69
CUT USA John Peterson Par - 75 69 - - 144
CUT USA Kevin Streelman Par - 69 75 - - 144
CUT USA Brian Stuard Par - 72 72 - - 144
CUT USA Daniel Summerhays Par - 71 73 - - 144
CUT USA Michael Thompson Par - 69 75 - - 144
CUT USA Gunner Wiebe Par - 75 69 - - 144
CUT USA Ryan Armour 1 - 72 73 - - 145
CUT USA Martin Flores 1 - 73 72 - - 145
CUT USA Rick Lamb 1 - 76 69 - - 145
CUT USA Spencer Levin 1 - 74 71 - - 145
CUT SWE David Lingmerth 1 - 74 71 - - 145
CUT USA Grayson Murray 1 - 72 - - - 72
CUT USA Jason Schmuhl 1 - 72 73 - - 145
CUT USA Zack Sucher 1 - 75 - - - 75
CUT USA David Toms 1 - 74 71 - - 145
CUT USA Boo Weekley 1 - 71 74 - - 145
CUT USA Mark Anderson 2 - 73 73 - - 146
CUT CAN Graham DeLaet 2 - 71 75 - - 146
CUT CAN David Hearn 2 - 72 74 - - 146
CUT USA Smylie Kaufman 2 - 75 71 - - 146
CUT AUS Rod Pampling 2 - 72 74 - - 146
CUT SWE Carl Pettersson 2 - 69 77 - - 146
CUT USA Mark Hubbard 3 - 70 77 - - 147
CUT USA Jason Kokrak 3 - 71 76 - - 147
CUT USA Webb Simpson 3 - 74 73 - - 147
CUT USA Scott Stallings 3 - 75 72 - - 147
CUT USA Aaron Wise 3 - 73 74 - - 147
CUT USA Brian Harman 4 - 73 75 - - 148
CUT USA Charles Howell III 4 - 74 74 - - 148
CUT USA Chad Collins 5 - 75 74 - - 149
CUT USA Hunter Mahan 5 - 73 76 - - 149
CUT USA Jonathan Randolph 5 - 74 - - - 74
CUT USA Robert Streb 5 - 73 76 - - 149
CUT CAN Nick Taylor 5 - 73 76 - - 149
CUT USA Jason Gore 6 - 73 77 - - 150
CUT USA Michael Hebert 6 - 76 - - - 76
CUT USA Ted Purdy 6 - 78 72 - - 150
CUT AUS Geoff Ogilvy 7 - 75 76 - - 151
CUT USA Max Homa 8 - 80 72 - - 152
CUT USA Ollie Schniederjans 8 - 75 77 - - 152
CUT MAL Gavin Kyle Green 11 - 76 79 - - 155
CUT USA Matthew Every 12 - 83 73 - - 156
CUT AUS Steven Bowditch 13 - 78 79 - - 157
- USA Brian Gay Par - - - - - 0
RET USA Billy Hurley III Par - - - - - 0

 





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