Steele moves clear at Sony Open in Hawaii

By Sports Desk January 11, 2020

American golfer Brendan Steele earned a three-stroke advantage after the third round of the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Steele carded a six-under-par 64 to claim the outright lead at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu on Saturday.

Three-time PGA Tour champion Steele and Australian Cameron Davis shared a one-shot cushion atop the leaderboard at the start of the penultimate round.

But a flawless back nine, which was capped by three consecutive birdies to close out the day, saw Steele surge ahead after Davis could only manage a third-round 71.

Steele is 12 under through 54 holes and three clear strokes of second-placed Australian Cameron Smith (66) heading into the final day.

Kevin Kisner (64) is a shot further back at eight under, while Webb Simpson (66), Collin Morikawa (68) and Ryan Palmer (68) are seven under.

Davis slumped to five under overall and a tie for 11th following a forgettable front nine that featured four bogeys in six holes.

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    The Englishman first appeared on the circuit in 1998 and had three runner-up finishes and a pair of third places to his name across his career before this week, but the first win had proven elusive.

    However, he put that right on Saturday at The Belfry, a closing 66 taking him to 13 under par before Bland held his nerve in a play-off to deny Italian Guido Migliozzi.

    Bland made birdie at the 18th with a putt from almost 30 feet for a six-under 66 to set the clubhouse target, but Migliozzi joined him on that mark by picking up shots at the 15th and 16th holes.

    It would have been a nervy wait for Bland as Migliozzi targeted the birdie in the closing two holes that would have brought him the title, but the 24-year-old could not make it happen as he settled for a 68, triggering the play-off.

    When Migliozzi missed from around 10 feet for par at the first extra hole - the 18th - Bland had the chance to slot the winning putt from close range, and he made no mistake.

    "I've done it," said an emotional Bland on Sky Sports. "My game had been trending in the right way and I'd worked really hard, as you know we've worked so hard on the wedges."

    Interviewed by his coach Tim Barter, Bland, who collects €339,278 for his win, said: "I just drove the ball so well this week. I've gone back to my old driver. Round here - especially for me, I'm not the longest on tour - so I've got to hit fairways and I've probably missed single-digit fairways all week.

    "If I have missed one it's been by a couple of inches. I came off a pretty decent week last week and a top 10 [last month] in Gran Canaria so I knew my game was in decent shape."

    Finland's Mikko Korhonen shared third place on 12 under with England's Dave Coupland and Polish player Adrian Meronk, with another Englishman in Andy Sullivan tied for sixth with South African Dean Burmester.

    Tournament host Danny Willett finished at nine under, the same mark as fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell who was the overnight leader but struggled on the final day, a one-over 73 seeing him slide down the leaderboard to a share of 11th place.

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