GOLF: Steele has Texas Open lead

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - PGA Tour rookie Brendan Steele birdied Nos. 17 and 18 for a 4-under 68 on Saturday, grabbing sole possession of the Texas Open lead after beginning the day tied with a whopping six other players for the top spot.

The 28-year-old Californian put his third shot within 15 feet on the par-5 18th, then sunk the putt for his sixth birdie - offsetting a pair of bogeys.

"I decided to play it a little more conservative and laid it up, and it paid off," Steele said of the birdie to end his round.

That late surge was enough for a one-stroke lead over another up-and-commer, second-year PGA Tour pro Cameron Tringale, who led by two after 16 holes but hooked his tie shot on No. 18 into the deep rough - almost reaching a creek. He recovered on the approach, only to miss a 13-foot putt and settle for a 4-under 68.

"I drove it left. I figured if I hit a good drive ... I'd be able to look at it in two, so I just swung hard," said Tringale, who played at Georgia Tech and now lives in Las Vegas.

"I laid up to a pretty good yardage and then just misjudged the wind, really," he said. "Came up short, which was a bad mistake, given all the room behind the hole."

Third-round winds were calmer but still blew to nearly 30 mph at times, after strong gusts Friday saw the field struggle to a second-round scoring average of 75.289, the highest on Tour since the first-round of the 2008 British Open. Strong winds are forecast once again during today's final round.

"There's going to be good shots that don't end up good and bad shots that end up worse," Steele said.

Another rookie and Californian, Kevin Chappell (70) and 30-year-old Brandt Snedeker (70) were tied for third at 5 under. Steele, Tringale and Chappell, who led UCLA to an NCAA title in 2008, have just a combined 62 starts on tour, while Snedeker's only PGA Tour victory came at the 2007 Wyndham Championship.

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