Oct 5 (Reuters) - Brendan Steele began his title defense of the Safeway Open in ideal position as he grabbed a share of the first-round lead with a seven-under-par 65 on Thursday in Napa, California in the opening tournament of the 2017-18 season.
Steele won the title last year with a one-stroke triumph and his return was spurred by an eagle at the par-five fifth hole in a round where he made just one bogey.
Tom Hoge and Tyler Duncan also shot seven-under 65s to create a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard on the North Course at Silverado Resort and Spa.
Hoge, who made six birdies during an eight-hole stretch, recently earned his PGA Tour playing privileges by climbing into the top 25 of the Web.com Tour at that circuit’s season finale.
Four players are at five-under including Lucas Glover and Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo.
Zach Johnson, Kevin Tway, Ryan Moore and Maverick McNealy share eighth place at four-under-par-68.
Phil Mickelson shot a 69 and is one of 12 players tied for 12th.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury