Brendan Steele takes the lead at Sony Open with a round of 61

American is being pursued by Kevin Na and Joaquin Niemann after a low-scoring day

Brendan Steele plays his shot from the 17th tee during the third round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Brendan Steele plays his shot from the 17th tee during the third round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

 

Brendan Steele and Kevin Na fired matching nine under par 61s on Saturday to vault to the top of the leaderboard after the third round of the Sony Open in Hawaii.

After a birdie on the first hole, Steele claimed eight more over his final 13 holes, including four in six holes linking his front nine to back nine, to take a two-stroke lead over Na and Joaquin Niemann (63) heading into the final round. Steele sits at 18 under.

“The first practice round we played was on the back nine and I was remembering some shots, some good and some bad, kind of kicking myself a little bit,” Steele said after the round. “You hope that you come back and you play well and erase whatever negative memories there are, but all the memories are pretty positive.”

It’s the second straight year Steele has held the 54-hole lead at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

“Playing great here last year was good, and I’m excited for the challenge (Sunday). I’m swinging really well and my course management is very good. The putts are really feeling good even if they don’t go in. I’m very happy all the way around,” he said.

Na made the biggest jump, moving from 17th place into a tie for second at 16 under for the tournament. An eagle the ninth set up a run on the back nine that included birdies on the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th, before finishing with a birdie on 18 as well.

Na is tied with Niemann of Chile, who fired a nine under 63. Niemann finished with five birdies, back-to-back on the fourth and fifth holes, and then birdie-eagle to finish his round.

From a group that began the day tied for second, Stewart Cink, Russell Henley, and Chris Kirk remained together as part of a five-way tie for fourth at 15 under by shooting 65s. Henley’s round included an eagle, four birdies and a bogey; Kirk had bogeys on two of his final four holes; and Cink had a bogey on his first hole but had six birdies, including three on his last five holes.

Joining them were Peter Malnati and Charley Hoffman, who were tied for seventh to begin the day. Malnati recorded seven birdies and a bogey, and Hoffman carded an eagle on the ninth to go with four birdies to shoot six under 64s.

“If it’s soft, you can be more aggressive out here,” said Hoffman. “Obviously the wind is the protector on this golf course. If the wind is blowing, par is a pretty good score. If it’s just raining and soft, I expect a lot of birdies.

“I don’t think the forecast is for too much wind, so I expect guys to still keep making birdies out here, and you’ve got to go low tomorrow and keep it going.”

The PGA Tour announced Saturday that due to a forecast of heavy showers for Sunday and an unfavorable forecast Monday as well, tee times for the final round have been moved up by two hours.

Collated third round scores & totals in the USPGA Tour Sony Open in Hawaii, Waialae CC, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America (USA unless stated, par 70):

192 Brendan Steele 65 66 61

194 Kevin Na 67 66 61, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 62 69 63

195 Stewart Cink 67 63 65, Russell Henley 66 64 65, Charley Hoffman 66 65 64, Chris Kirk 65 65 65, Peter Malnati 62 69 64

196 Daniel Berger 64 68 64, Marc Leishman (Aus) 66 65 65, Keith Mitchell 71 62 63, Nick Taylor (Can) 66 62 68

197 Aaron Baddeley (Aus) 64 68 65, Billy Horschel 65 66 66, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 66 65 66, Webb Simpson 65 65 67

198 Patton Kizzire 64 69 65, Anirban Lahiri (Ind) 69 65 64, Collin Morikawa 66 65 67, Robby Shelton 66 67 65, Vaughn Taylor 64 66 68, Nick Hardy 69 63 66

199 James Hahn 68 65 66, Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 65 69 65, Matt Jones (Aus) 69 67 63, Sun-Woo Kim (Kor) 64 70 65, Jason Kokrak 62 71 66

200 Ryan Armour 69 66 65, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 70 66 64, Lanto Griffin 68 65 67, Kramer Hickok 67 68 65, Mark Hubbard 66 68 66, Kevin Kisner 69 67 64, Carlos Ortiz (Mex) 66 67 67, Ryan Palmer 70 65 65, Hudson Swafford 65 68 67, Michael Thompson 66 68 66, Brendon Todd 70 64 66

201 K. J. Choi (Kor) 67 65 69, Cameron Davis (Aus) 68 66 67, Harris English 70 64 67, Brice Garnett 66 68 67, Charles Howell III 67 68 66, Kyoung-Hoon Lee (Kor) 69 66 66, Cameron Smith (Aus) 67 66 68, Sepp Straka (Aut) 69 66 66

202 Wesley Bryan 68 67 67, Austin Cook 68 66 68, Brian Harman 66 69 67, Jim Herman 64 69 69, Pat Perez 68 65 69, Brian Stuard 66 67 69, Mike Weir (Can) 68 66 68

203 Scott Brown 70 66 67, Jim Furyk 69 66 68, Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 66 70 67, Harry Higgs 65 71 67, Troy Merritt 66 67 70, Adam Scott (Aus) 69 64 70

204 Brian Gay 67 69 68, Sung-Jae Imn (Kor) 68 68 68, Zach Johnson 71 65 68, Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn) 69 66 69, Nelson Ledesma (Arg) 67 66 71, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 66 70 68

205 Chris Baker 69 67 69, Jerry Kelly 68 68 69, Michael Kim 67 69 69, Ryosuke Kinoshita (Jpn) 68 68 69, Chez Reavie 68 68 69

206 Martin Trainer 70 66 70

207 Jamie Lovemark 68 68 71, Robert Streb 69 66 72

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.