Saturday’s roundup: Final birdie gives Stegmaier lead

Associated Press

Las Vegas — Brett Stegmaier birdied the final hole Saturday for a 3-under 68 and a one-stroke lead in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Making his fifth career PGA Tour start, Stegmaier rebounded from a bogey on the par-3 17th with a 13-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th to reach 13-under 68. The 32-year-old former University of Florida player completed a second-round 66 on Saturday morning for a share of the lead.

“It played a little tougher, so played a little more conservatively,” Stegmaier said. “Certainly happy to make four birdies and one bogey and be in the lead.”

He’s sticking with a simple approach.

“Just do the same things, not really look at leaderboards until maybe the last three holes,” Stegmaier said. “I’ve played really well the last two months. Been doing the same things, just try and read the greens well. I feel like if I read the greens well, I’ll play well. That’s the main goal tomorrow.”

Morgan Hoffman was second after a 66. After making four birdies in a four-hole stretch, he hooked his drive on 18 into the desert rocks and ended up saving bogey with a 10-foot putt.

“I was just saying if I could see the ball in there and it wasn’t in the bush, I’d give it a shot,” Hoffmann said. “Yeah, lucky to get out of there with bogey.”

Jimmy Walker, former UNLV player Chad Campbell and 2011 winner Kevin Na were tied for third at 11 under. Walker had a 69, Na shot 68, and Campbell 70.

“I think that the pins are a lot more difficult than they normally are, a lot of tough pins,” Walker said. “It’s like they don’t want us to make birdies. A lot of holes, par is pretty good here.”

Campbell agreed.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of low scores,” Campbell said. “It was pretty hard to get to those pins. But I feel like I played OK, and looking forward to tomorrow.”

Alex Cejka had a hole-in-one on the 212-yard 17th in a 66 that left him at 10 under along with Nick Taylor (67), Jason Bohn (69) and Cameron Tringale (70).

Cejka won the Puerto Rico Open last year for his first PGA Tour title. The 44-year-old Czech-born German lives in Las Vegas.

“It was a good 6-iron for me, perfect yardage,” Cejka said. “I tried to hit it a little bit right. I struck it well, and pitched pretty good and was rolling toward the pin and then suddenly disappeared. It’s a great bonus, especially in front of the home crowd here, and then to top it off with a birdie on 18, that’s fabulous.”

Rickie Fowler was tied for 28th at 6 under after a 70, playing the last four holes in even par without making a par. He eagled the short par-4 15th, hitting a drive to 5 feet, then hit into the water on the next two holes for a bogey on the par-5 16th and a double on the par-3 17th. He birdied the par-4 18th with a 12-foot putt.

“It was a little irritating,” Fowler said. “Sixteen and 17 cost me a lot of shots this week. It would be nice to possibly get some back there. I haven’t made particularly bad swings, just hit it kind of the wrong directions at the wrong time.”

Ko up 4 in Taiwan

Lydia Ko took a four-stroke lead in the LPGA Taiwan Championship, putting the 18-year-old New Zealander in position to regain the top spot in the world ranking.

Ko had four birdies in a five-hole stretch and closed with another birdie for a 5-under 67 in windy conditions at rain-soaked Miramar at Taipei.

She would jump from second to first in the world with a victory or second-place finish Sunday and also could take the top spot under other scenarios depending on where top-ranked Inbee Park finishes in the Korea LPGA’s KB Financial Star Championship. Park, the winner last year at Miramar, was tied for fourth Saturday in the South Korean event.

Ko had a 13-under 203 total. South Korea’s Eun-Hee Ji, a stroke ahead after each of the first two rounds, was second after a 72. England’s Charley Hull was another shot back after a 71.

Ko won the Evian Championship in France last month to become the youngest major champion and is tied with Park for the tour victory lead with four. Ko and Park also entered the week tied for the lead in the player of the year points race.

Rose shares lead in Hong Kong

Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard shot a 6-under 63 for a share of the Hong Kong Open lead with England’s Justin Rose.

Rose had a 64 to match Bjerregaard at 15-under 195 at Hong Kong Golf Club. India’s Anirban Lahiri was third after a 65.