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Brendan Steele takes the early lead at the Travelers Championship with a bogey-free 62

  • Travelers Golf-1.jpg

    Brendan Steele watches his drive on the 10th tee during the first round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament in Cromwell, Conn., Thursday, June 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)The Associated Press

  • Travelers Championship Golf-2.jpg

    Brendan Steele watches his birdie putt miss on the 18th hole during the first round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament in Cromwell, Conn., Thursday, June 19, 2014. Steele finished the round at 8-under par, 62. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)The Associated Press

  • Travelers Championship Golf-3.jpg

    Brendan Steele hits his second shot on the 18th hole during the first round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament in Cromwell, Conn., Thursday, June 19, 2014. Steele finished his round at 8-under par, 62. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)The Associated Press

  • Travelers Golf-4.jpg

    Trevor Immelman hits out of the rough on the 9th hole during the first round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament in Cromwell, Conn., Thursday, June 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)The Associated Press

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    Adam Rainaud watches his approach shot on the 9th hole during the first round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament in Cromwell, Conn., Thursday, June 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)The Associated Press

Brendan Steele opened the Travelers Championship on Thursday by shooting an 8-under 62, two shy of the course record.

The 31-year-old Californian started his round with an eagle, holing out from 129 yards in the rain. He went on to birdie six of the next 12 holes, but closed the bogey-free round with five straight pars.

"On 14, I started to think 59, which is probably why I slowed down a little bit," he said.

Steele, who has two top-10 finishes this season, didn't qualify for last week's U.S. Open. He instead watched from the stands as his favorite hockey team, the Los Angeles Kings, won the Stanley Cup.

The course record at River Highlands is 60, set in 2011 by Patrick Cantlay as an amateur.