On a day full of low scores at Silverado, Brendan Steele did just enough to stay atop the leaderboard. He leads by one in Napa as he looks to go wire to wire and win the season opener. Here's what went down Saturday in wine country:
Leaderboard: Steele (-14), Andrew Loupe (-13), Kevin Na (-13), eight more at 12 under
What it means: This is Steele’s second outright 54-hole lead on Tour. Currently 79th in the Official World Golf Ranking, he is in search of his second PGA Tour win, following his maiden victory at the 2011 Valero Texas Open. The 18- and 36-hole leader, he posted a 3-under 69 on Saturday. Behind him, 10 players are within just two shots of the lead.
Round of the day: Loupe tied Steele’s round of the week from Thursday with a 9-under 63. He made 10 birdies, including five in a row to start his round and four straight on Nos. 14-17. He hit 17 of 18 greens, missing only the putting surface at No. 6, where he made his lone bogey. The 63 is Loupe’s lowest career round in relation to par while on Tour.
Best of the rest: Na and Bohn both turned in 64s. Na was spotless with six birdies and an eagle, as Bohn made nine birdies and a bogey.
Biggest disappointment: World No. 3 Rory McIlroy started the day six back and failed to make up any ground. He traded five birdies against four bogeys, including three in a four-hole stretch from Nos. 11-14, to card a 1-under 71. He enters the final round tied for 39th, eight shots behind.
Shot of the day: Na’s approach at the par-5 16th from 271 yards came to rest 6 feet, 7 inches from the cup.
Quote of the day: “Would have put me out of my misery.” – McIlroy, on nearly being hit in the head by a stray Emiliano Grillo tee shot on the 17th hole
Storyline to watch Sunday: With 10 players within two shots of the lead, look for world No. 7 Rose, two back, to make a push amongst a group of players with substantially less experience.