Sunday, June 24, 2018

Former Gator Brett Stegmaier leads Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

LAS VEGAS — Brett Stegmaier birdied the final hole for 3-under 68 and a one-stroke lead Saturday 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 Saturday morning for a share of the lead after that round.

"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 (today)."

Morgan Hoffman was second after 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.

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

Stegmaier's tale is not well known. After giving up the game in 2009 following a pair of wrist surgeries, the Madison, Conn., native returned to the Tour and needed a top-10 finish at the final regular-season event last month just to make the Tour Finals. He played well, then earned his card in the postseason, and now has a chance for his first career win as a 32-year-old rookie.

LPGA: Lydia Ko took a four-stroke lead in the LPGA Taiwan Championship, putting the 18-year-old in position to regain the top spot in the world ranking and become the youngest tour player to win 10 events.

Ko had four birdies in a five-hole stretch and closed with another birdie for 5-under 67 and 13-under 203 at windy, rain-soaked Miramar. South Korea's Eun-Hee Ji, a stroke ahead after each of the first two rounds, was second after 72. England's Charley Hull was another shot back after 71. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome (75) was 2 over.

If she wins today, New Zealand's Ko would shatter the record of youngest to 10 wins. Nancy Lopez was 22 when she got her 10th in 1979.

The Golf Channel contributed to this report.

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