American Steele, the 2011 champion, mixed six birdies with two
bogeys and a double at the par-four 15th to card two-under 70 on the
rain-softened Oaks layout at TPC San Antonio.
In pursuit of his second career win on the PGA Tour, he posted a
10-under total of 134 to match the tournament's 36-hole low set by
compatriot Ben Curtis in 2012.
Americans Scott Langley (68) and Charley Hoffman (71) shared second
place on seven-under with Australian Stuart Appleby, who recovered
from a nightmare start to shoot 70.
Appleby four-putted from seven feet at his first hole, the 10th,
twice missing from two feet before finally holing out for a triple
Asked later to describe the horrid series of putts, the nine-times
PGA Tour winner invoked the memory of the late Seve Ballesteros.
"When Seve had a four-putt many, many years ago, they asked him
'Seve, how did you have a four-putt,'" Appleby said.
"(Seve replied) 'I miss, I miss, I miss, I make'. I think that's how
it was. I was swatting at it. There was a golf ball in the way."
Steele also had a stumble along the way with a double bogey at the
15th but was pleased overall with his performance.
"I always feel good here," Steele, 33, told Golf Channel. "I know
the shots, the course sets up really well for me and it kind of
plays into my strengths, which is usually driving the ball.
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"So to see it play a little bit softer this week and with a little
less wind, my eyes kind of lit up because it always plays so
difficult here ... the winning score is just a handful under par
A Thursday weather delay spilled over into Friday, with a handful of
players unable to complete the second round before darkness, though
everyone near the lead finished.
The cut will fall at even-par 144, with South African Branden Grace,
winner of last week's Heritage Classic, advancing on the number
after consecutive rounds of 72.
Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els were among those set to miss the cut.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles and Andrew Both in
Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine)
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