Brendan Steele will hope to build on his opening two rounds at the Memorial last week as he tees off at the FedEx St. Jude Classic on Thursday.
The 33-year-old was tied for the lead alongside Matt Kuchar after 36 holes at Jack’s Place before fading away on the weekend with rounds of 75 and 71.
Steele’s season has produced seven top-20 finishes, with three of them coming his last four starts, and his season earnings are over $1 million for the fourth time in a row.
His best performance of the season was a tie for third at the CIMB Classic. He has also made 12 cuts in 16 starts and booked his US Open ticket on Monday in sectional qualifying.
His recent top-20 performances have been similar in nature in terms of how he achieved them. He places well in the first two rounds, but falls away at the weekend, hence the lack of a top-10 finish since the CIMB Classic at the back end of last year.
Steele heads to TPC Southwind in Tennessee as one of 19 players in the field ranked inside the top-100 in the world, a good effort considering the tournament falls a week before the US Open. The 2011 PGA Tour rookie has to approach this week with caution, having missed the cut in his two trips there. It is crucial that the California-born golfer makes the weekend this time around so that he can fine tune his game before Oakmont.
Steele will hope to add to his single PGA Tour victory, which came at the 2011 Valero Texas Open, but will face stiff competition from defending champion Fabain Gomez and former champions Dustin Johnson and Harris English. Others in the field that may consider themselves contenders include Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Colt Knost.
South Africans in the field this week include Retief Goosen, Thomas Aiken, Ernie Els, Dawie van der Walt, Tyrone van Aswegen, Richard Sterne and Trevor Immelman.