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Monday, April 18, 2011

The Limerick Summary: 2011 Valero Texas Open

Winner: Brendan Steele

Around the wider world of golf: Young Matteo Manassero went one-up on the old guy Rory McIlroy, holding on to get his second win (before he even turns 18!) at the Maybank Malaysian Open on the ET; Yuri Fudoh chalked up another win at the JLPGA's Nishijin Ladies Classic; Sweden defended their title at the LET's European Nations Cup; John Cook won the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am in a one-hole playoff over Jay Don Blake on the Champions Tour; and Daniel Chopra won a very foggy Fresh Express Classic at TPC Stonebrae on the Nationwide Tour when it was shortened to only 3 rounds.

Brendan Steele at the Valero
Click the pic to read the Ottawa Citizen's recap of the event.

If you watched the Valero Texas Open, you know why most golfers from Texas have flat swings. It's darn windy down there! So perhaps it's no surprise that a player with a strong grip and a flat swing took down the trophy this week.

Rookie Brendan Steele started the day with a lead. Even the veteran players haven't done particularly well under those conditions lately -- let alone with the wind whipping shots all over the place -- but Steele didn't seem to have much trouble. Two birdies, one bogey, and a whole passel of pars was all the rookie needed to grab his first Tour victory. The fact that he kept his swing under control, despite both pressure and wind, is no small deal when you're after that elusive first victory. (First PGA Tour victory, of course. Steele locked down none other than the Nationwide Championship last year. If that doesn't give you confidence, what will?)

And it's not like the rest of the field just rolled over and said, "No prob, Brendan. You take this one, we'll catch it next week..." Another rookie, Kevin Chappell, managed to catch him at the turn and stay with him until a bogey on the 17th put him in the rearview mirror for good. And Charlie Hoffman shot -4, matching the low score of the day (by Keegan Bradley, nephew of LPGA legend Pat Bradley) and almost getting the job done himself.

Almost... but no cigar. Which is just as well, because I'm not sure you could've kept a cigar lit out there in all that wind.

Other favorites fell by the way as well. Adam Scott, Brandt Snedeker, and several other players who had been in the thick of it at the Masters last week just seemed to run out of gas. Fredrik Jacobson, who's been trying to get his game back together, put up another good finish this week, so he bears watching as the year goes on.

But so does Brendan Steele. He's not a famous writer or a mysterious private eye, but remember that name. When you've got a name like Steele and nerves to match, you just might have a future on the Big Tour.

It certainly gets you a Limerick Summary:
He's Brendan, not Danielle or Remington;
Decisive, not hawing and hemming, son!
Steele nerves never crumbled;
The field was soon humbled
Though some thought his chances were slim and none.

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