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Defending champ Steele shares Safeway lead

By Will GrayOctober 6, 2017, 1:03 am

After an all-too-brief off-season, the PGA Tour is once again up and running. Here's how things look after the opening round of the Safeway Open, where the defending champ is in a familiar spot:

Leaderboard: Brendan Steele (-7), Tyler Duncan (-7), Tom Hoge (-7), Emiliano Grillo (-5), Lucas Glover (-5), Jamie Lovemark (-5), Chez Reavie (-5)

What it means: While this tournament was deluged by heavy rains a year ago, Silverado's North Course is back to playing firm and fast this time around. With relatively calm conditions, players were able to take advantage including Steele, who won this tournament by a shot last year and is once again holding a share of the pole position after the first round of the season.

Round of the day: Steele narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Tour Championship last month, but he showed no signs of a slowdown during a 7-under 65 to take the early lead before he was caught by Duncan and Hoge. Steele hit all 18 greens in regulation, with his lone hiccup coming when he three-putted the sixth hole.

Best of the rest: Hoge didn't know he had a PGA Tour card until Monday's conclusion of the Web.com Tour Championship, but he quickly put his new credentials to work with a bogey-free 65. That included a torrid back nine, one in which Hoge birdied six holes in an eight-hole stretch from Nos. 11-18.

Biggest disappointment: While many big names got off to sub-par starts, Bryson DeChambeau wasn't among that group. DeChambeau played alongside Mickelson in the opening round but he made only two birdies en route to a 1-over 73 that left him eight shots back. DeChambeau hit 13 of 18 greens but lost nearly two shots to the field with a putter in his hand.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Given his quick start and course history, Steele is certainly the player to watch heading into the second round. But don't discount Grillo, who sits just two shots back on a course where he won as a rookie in 2015, or Phil Mickelson, who trails by only four shots after he turned two fairways hit into a 3-under 69.

Shot of the day: Steele admitted that he thought he had pulled his 200-yard approach to the par-5 fifth hole, but he was pleasantly surprised to watch the ball catch a slope near the back of the green and funnel toward the hole. It ended up just 2 feet away, leading to a kick-in eagle.

Quote of the day: "This place just makes sense to me." - Steele

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.