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Mickelson beatings spur Steele to great Memorial start

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DUBLIN, Ohio – Brendan Steele is having a much better time at Muirfield Village than he did last year.

In 2015, Steele shot a final-round 80 at the Memorial, but after a second-round 67 Steele was tied for the lead with Matt Kuchar when he finished his play on another perfect day in Central Ohio.

Steele opened with a 65 – his best score in six starts at Muirfield – and after six birdies and a bogey on Friday, he will head into the weekend with a great chance to win his second PGA Tour title.

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“I don't think we're ever going to see better conditions than this,” said Steele, who enjoyed an ideal setup with the first tee time of the day. “The right amount of heat, the right amount of soft greens, the right amount of pace of the greens is really nice now, too. So everything is set up that, if you hit good shots, you can really go low.”

Steele’s preparation for the Memorial was a little unusual, but it seems to be paying off. He attended a friend’s wedding, went fishing with his dad in the Sierras and played two weekend matches with Phil Mickelson in San Diego.

“I think he beat me, 5 and 4, the second day. And the first day, beat me, 2 and 1,” Steele said about his matches with Mickelson. “But the second day, he shot 10 under, and I just felt like my game was very inferior to his. I felt like I needed to work really hard.”