Steele takes march on the field with birdies at the last three holes

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(Reuters) – American Brendan Steele got off to a bad start, remained patient and was able to take the last three holes in the lead after the third round at the Sony Open in Hawaii on Saturday.

Brendan Steele hits his 17th hole in the third round of the Sony Open
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sport

One afternoon, when the winds abated after almost three days under extreme test conditions, Steele put on a six-under par 64 that was the best of the day at Waialae Country Club.

He ended up with a sudden downpour and posted a total of 12-under-198. Australian Cameron Smith has also kept the last three holes within striking distance of 66, leaving him alone in second place.

The American Kevin Kisner, who shot 60 in the third round in Waialae three years ago, had to settle for 64 this time, which gave him four shots ahead.

Steele was in danger of getting out of competition after two early bogies, but settled down and hardly hit a bad shot the rest of the way.

"Two over four (holes) is not the way you want to get started, but I felt very comfortable with what I was doing and stuck with it and it paid off," Steele said.

The 36-year-old, triple PGA tour winner, has had a disappointing season in which he was unable to fully exploit his trademark.

"All facets of my game are better than ever and have put my worst season on tour behind me," he said.

"I'm very excited about my trajectory and the state of affairs (but) I've been out here long enough to know that it's always difficult (to win)."

Third-placed Kisner enjoyed the somewhat simpler conditions that allowed him to play a little less lottery.

"I started to see how the ball actually rolls because it looks like it is doing instead of praying that the wind won't hit it. So it was a more pleasing nine," said Kisner, who had sworn to improve his attitude to the blue collar the last lap.

"I'll probably be the same old redneck, a pretty aggressive guy that I usually am. I'll try to make a bird at every hole."

Andrew Both reports in Cary, North Carolina; Edited by Richard Pullin