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Steele off to hot start

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Defending champion Brendan Steele ripped up the back nine en route to a seven-under 65 to take a share of the lead after the first round of the USPGA Tour’s Safeway Open on Thursday.

Steele was tied with fellow Americans Tom Hoge and Tyler Duncan heading into the second round of the Tour’s season-opening event for 2017-18 at the Silverado Resort and Spa.

Steele, who has two wins on the Tour, recorded five birdies in a six-hole stretch from number 13 to number 18.

He added an eagle on the fifth but followed with a bogey on the next hole.

“A little bit of everything worked for me today,’’ Steele said. ‘’I had a really good ball-striking day. I don’t think I missed a green, so that really helps. And then I had a good putting day as well, so you put that together and it’s going to be pretty good.’’

Chez Reavie, Lucas Glover, Jamie Lovemark and Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo are tied for fourth at 67.

Zach Johnson, Kevin Tway, Ryan Moore and Maverick McNealy share eighth place at 68.