Brendan Steele rallied to successfully defend his Safeway Open title, closing with a 3-under 69 on Sunday for a two-stroke victory over Tony Finau in the season opener.
Phil Mickelson and Chesson Hadley finished three shots behind.
Two strokes behind surprising leader Tyler Duncan entering the day at Silverado Resort and Spa, Steele birdied the par-5 16th and 18th holes — holing a three-footer on 18.
The 34-year-old Steele, from the Southern California mountain town of Idyllwild, finished at 14-under 273 for his third PGA Tour title. He also won the 2011 Valero Texas Open.
Finau, whose lone PGA Tour victory came in the 2016 Puerto Rico Open, moved into a tie for the lead with Steele at 14 under with a birdie on the par-four 13th. But he double-bogeyed the par-four 14th. After pars on 16 and 17, Finau had a 40-foot eagle putt on the 18th and settled for birdie and a 69.
Mickelson, who began the round four shots off the lead, birdied the 16th from 10 feet to move within one shot of Steele. But Mickelson, winless since the 2013 British Open, bogeyed the 17th before birdieing the 18th for a 70. It was Mickelson’s 27th third-place finish in 27 PGA Tour seasons.
Hadley finished with a 73. He had a course-record 61 in the second round,
Duncan, a PGA Tour rookie who began the round with a one-stroke lead over Hadley, had five bogeys on the front nine and finished with a 75 to tie for fifth with Graham DeLaet at 11 under. DeLaet had a 72.
John Daly, the two-time major winner who won on his first PGA Tour Champions title in May, closed with a 79 to tie for 72nd at five over.
Kerr wins Lacoste Ladies Open
Cristie Kerr completed a wire-to-wire victory Sunday in the Lacoste Ladies Open de France for her first Ladies European Tour title.
The 39-year-old American closed with a one-under 69 at Golf de Chantaco for a four-stroke victory over China’s Xi Yu Lin. Kerr opened with rounds of 62, 64 and 69 to take a nine-stroke lead into the final round. She finished at 17-under 263.
Kerr donated $5,000 to a charity called ARTIC in memory of Cassandra Kirkland, the LET player who died from cancer in April. She also remembered a friend in the U.S. who died of cancer Tuesday.
“I’ve been having an angel on my shoulder all week,” Kerr said. “I was on a mission and I got it done for them.”
Kerr has 19 victories on the LPGA Tour. Lin shot a 64.
Hatton takes Dunhill Links title
Tyrrell Hatton retained his title at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Sunday after a final round at St. Andrews in which Ross Fisher shot a course-record 61 at the home of golf.
On a calm day on the storied Old Course, even a bogey-free round by Fisher containing 11 birdies could not reel in overnight leader Hatton, who shot 66 for a three-stroke victory over his fellow Englishman.
Hatton became the first player in the 17-year history of the Dunhill Links to successfully defend the title in a tournament played over three Scottish courses — the Old Course, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie. His aggregate score of 24-under 264 was a tournament record, after rounds of 68-65-65-66.
Both of Hatton’s career titles have come at the Dunhill Links.
Fisher was runner-up for the second straight year. He had a putt for eagle from the Valley of Sin on No. 18, which would have sealed the first round of 59 in the history of the European Tour. It fell two feet short and he missed the birdie putt back, though still broke the course record — held jointly by six players — by a stroke.
Rory McIlroy shot even-par 72 to finish tied for 63rd on four under par, meaning he ended a season without a victory for only the second time in his professional career.