Leader Steele relishes challenge of firm, fast Silverado


NAPA, Calif. – Silverado will only get tougher over the weekend, with dry weather expected and the small, subtly sloped greens growing firmer by the minute. 

That would suit Brendan Steele just fine. 

Holding an outright 36-hole lead for the first time in his PGA Tour career, Steele said he’d welcome more difficult conditions for the final two rounds of the Frys.com Open, which he leads by two shots at 11-under 133.

“I don’t expect to see any more 63s out there,” he said, “which can play to my advantage. Make it tougher for guys to come from way behind.”

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Steele opened with 63, birdied his first hole Friday and was at 12 under through 12 holes. He was 1 over the rest of the way, failing to capitalize on either of the finishing par 5s.

“It got tough,” he said. “I was lucky to escape just finishing 1 over on those last six.” 

Steele was part of a seven-way tie for the halfway lead during his lone Tour title, at the 2011 Texas Open. He led by one after the third round. 

Silverado played only 7,203 yards on the card Friday, but the firmer, poa annua greens are the course’s main defense. 

“I hope they let it get to the edge where you’ve got to play some strategic wedge shots,” Justin Rose said. “There are times out here you may have 110 yards, but to a very small part of the green. You have to play to a safer spot and try and make it from 15 feet.”