The former PGA Tour member is in the clubhouse at 11-under 133, one shot in front of Ken Duke of Boca Raton, Fla. Kyle Kovacs (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) is at 8-under 136, while Stuart Anderson of Fort McMurray, AB is the top Canadian, tied for fourth spot, five shots off the lead.
Play was halted at 3:47 PM Pacific when heavy rains, which had fallen for most of the day made Swan-e-set Bay Resort unplayable. A total of 78 golfers were still on the course and will be back in position at 7:30 AM Saturday to complete their second rounds.
Steel, who trailed first-round co-leaders Duke and Mark Brown by one stroke heading into Friday, knocked his approach shot from 126 yards on the final hole to within half a foot before tapping in the birdie putt to take the outright lead.
With that rain, I didnt feel like spending time to measure up a putt on the last hole, laughed Steel. Even with the conditions, I knew birdies would still be there. To be honest, I was surprised that the weather was a nice as it was at the beginning of the day (calm with no rain), so you almost had to take advantage of it while it lasted.
The 31-year-old spent the 1998 season on the PGA Tour, and plied his trade on the Buy.Com Tour the past three years. Steel, like the other players on the morning side of the draw Friday, appeared to have an advantage through the opening two rounds. Conditions cleared up Thursday afternoon just as Steel was beginning his opening round.
Well, Id say we got the lucky break, but plenty of times I have been on the other side. If the weather does get nice here on the weekend, it is going to turn it a birdie-fest. Not only is Ken playing well, but there are a lot of other guys right there. Ill need to play my game, limit the mistakes and take the birdies where I can.
Duke, who won two events en route to the 1999 Order of Merit crown, struggled for most of the day Friday before picking up his game as the weather worsened.
For some reason, those winds picked up and that woke me up a bit, he admitted. I just couldnt get comfortable out there, and had a hard time reading the greens. Thats a strong leaderboard with a lot of top playersas long as I can keep getting chances, Ill be there.
Anderson, now into his second season on the Canadian Tour, got to 9-under before giving back three shots over the final few holes.
It was tough coming in, but Im very pleased with where I am, said the 24-year old. I just need to stick to my routine, be patient and it will happen.
Full-field scores from the Greater Vancouver Classic