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Brendan Steele leads LIV Adelaide by one stroke after second round at The Grange

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Three-time PGA Tour winner Brendan Steele shot an 8-under 64 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the LIV Tour's Adelaide tournament at The Grange Golf Club.

The 41-year-old Steele's last PGA Tour victory came in 2017 when he won his second Safeway Open. He lost in a playoff to Australian Cameron Smith at the 2020 Sony Open in Hawaii.

Steele had a 36-hole total of 14-under 130. He had a streak of four birdies, a bogey and two birdies in the middle of his round.

Danny Lee was a stroke behind after a 67, followed by Carlos Ortiz (68) and Mito Pereira (67) in a tie for third.

First-round leader Jinichiro Kozuma shot 71 and was tied for ninth, four strokes behind Steele. The Japanese player had an eagle, three birdies and four bogeys.

Jon Rahm, who has yet to win since joining LIV in December, shot 69 and was tied for 15th, six strokes off the lead.

Steele predicted a 20-under total would be needed to win after Sunday’s final round.

“There’s good scores out there for sure,” he said. “If you’re in the fairway, then you can take on a lot of the pins.”

Smith shot 65 and was among those three behind in a four-way tie for fifth.

Enjoying the home crowd's support, Smith said he was grateful for the lady his errant shot hit on the 17th hole. The shot rebounded kindly off the woman and Smith ended up with a birdie on the hole.

“I hit her in the back,” Smith said. “It probably wasn’t going to be in the trees, but it was going to be in the rough and a different lie, so it could have been a different outcome. But (I) made her proud and made a birdie there, and she helped me out — hopefully that eased the pain a little bit for her.”

A new friendship ensued.

“She was nice," Smith said. "I went over there and I signed a ball, and she said ‘just give me a hug’, so I gave her a hug as well. She was sweet.”

There was also drama in another Australian's round with Lucas Herbert's caddie, Nick Pugh, hit in the head by a water bottle thrown from the crowd while replacing the flagstick at the 12th hole.

Herbert had just holed a birdie putt to finish his round in the shotgun format and was celebrating with fans at the par-3, known as the ‘watering hole’ with its loud music and boisterous fans, when Pugh was hit in the back of the head.

Pugh initially sunk to his knees but made his way back to the clubhouse and was reportedly uninjured and in good spirits.

The LIV tour remains in the Asia region next week for the May 3-5 Singapore event at the Sentosa Golf Club. Then there's a month-long break before resuming in Houston from June 7-9.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf