Looking like anything but an “amateur”, Noah Steele extended his lead at the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada’s Osprey Valley Open on Saturday.
The 23-year-old Golf Canada National Amateur Team member from Kingston, Ontario added a 7-under-par, 64, during his third lap of the Heathlands Course at TPC Toronto. The round, which featured a back nine score of just 29 strokes, boosted his two-shot overnight lead to a healthy five shots over a pair of players. Fellow amateur Etienne Papineau along with pro Blair Bursey sit at -13 overall while Steele is at 195 (-18).
Steele’s third round got off to a conservative start, with just a birdie followed by eight pars on his front side, then he exploded.
“I hit a really, really nice approach into (No.) 10 within two or three feet and tapped that in for eagle,” said the 23-year-old member of the Golf Canada National Amateur Team who has made just two bogeys in 54 holes. “I just kind of rode that from there and that was a good kick-starter for me. I just got into a nice groove and hit a lot of really good shots on the back nine that led to some birdies.”
Despite the lofty position, Steele, a graduate of Sam Houston State University where he recorded three NCAA tournament wins, does not plan to alter his course on Sunday for the final round.
“I would love to just stick to the process that I’ve had, and my game plan, and just stay really, really patient,” said Steele. “I’ve been swinging it nice and been doing a lot of really nice things, so I’m really going to change nothing.”
Fellow National Amateur Team member Papineau played in the final group with Steele and remains within striking distance. The 24-year-old from St-Jean-sur-Richilieu, Quebec, recorded a 4-under round of 67 and sits in a tie for second, at 13-under.
“I hit the ball pretty solid today,” said Papineau. “My iron shots were really, really good, and I think I hit the first 14 greens. It was just a question of making putts or not.”
Blair Bursey, who led after each of the opening three rounds at the season-opening event in Blainville, Quebec, is also tied for second after shooting a 65 Saturday with an eagle and five birdies.
Despite needing to make up five shots Sunday, the Gander, Newfoundland, native doesn’t plan on being overly aggressive.
“My strategy’s not going to change based on what other people are doing,” said Bursey. “If they come backward or they play great it’s kind of irrelevant. I play my best golf when I focus on myself and myself only.”
London, Ontario’s Erick Flockhart (11-under) and Vancouver’s Evan Holmes (10-under) round out the top five.
Saturday was a strong day for scoring at TPC Toronto. Kitchener’s Austin Ryan matched Steele’s score of 64 and thirty players in the field were under par.
The top-five players on the final Points List will earn 2022 PGA TOUR Canada membership. First place on the Points List will receive fully exempt status for the 2022 PGA TOUR Canada season, while those in the second-through-fifth positions will earn exempt status up until the first reshuffle based on player performance.
w/ content from Mackenzie Tour/PGA TOUR Canada staff