Steele shot a 9-under 63 in the second round of the CIMB Classic, including a birdie on his final hole to close an inward half of 30. At 14 under, he sits alone in second place through two rounds, one shot behind leader Justin Thomas and one shot ahead of a trio of players that includes Hideki Matsuyama.
Steele finished T-25 in his lone prior start in Malaysia, but appears in position to improve on that result this time around.
"I'm doing a lot of things really well right now," Steele said. "I'm putting the ball in some pretty good spots. I've got a little more length than I had the last time I was here in 2013, so I can cover a few more bunkers."
Steele opened the new wraparound season with a 63 at the Frys.com Open, and the California native led after each of the first three rounds in Napa. But he made eight bogeys during the final round en route to a 4-over 76 that dropped him into a tie for 17th. He then missed the cut last week at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
After flying halfway around the world, the 32-year-old now sees a chance for redemption.
"I had a really nice week going a couple weeks ago at Fry's, and that didn't end up how I wanted and was pretty bummed last week," he said. "I was kind of almost grieving for Sunday and attitude was really poor and everything. So I tried to just hit the reset this week, and get the attitude going and stay positive."