Stegmaier leads by 1 in Las Vegas


After holding the overnight lead, Brett Stegmaier did just enough to remain in front at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Here's how things look after three rounds in Las Vegas, where Stegmaier clings to a slim advantage:

Leaderboard: Brett Stegmaier (-13), Morgan Hoffmann (-12), Jimmy Walker (-11), Kevin Na (-11), Chad Campbell (-11), Alex Cejka (-10), Nick Taylor (-10), Jason Bohn (-10), Cameron Tringale (-10)

What it means: Stegmaier began the day with a one-shot lead, and after returning to complete his second round in the morning, he ended up among a quartet of co-leaders. In unfamiliar territory, he didn't make a bogey until No. 17 and then bounced back for a birdie on No. 18 to close a 3-under 68 and secure a one-shot lead heading into the final round.

Round of the day: Cejka was well down the leaderboard before a furious finish, capped by the shot of the day (more on that below). Cejka sandwiched his ace on No. 17 between birdies on Nos. 16 and 18. After playing the final three holes in 4 under, he turned in a 5-under 66 to move within three of Stegmaier.

Best of the rest: Jamie Lovemark got off to a hot start and shot 66 even after stalling on the inward half. Lovemark began on the back nine and birdied five of his first nine holes, with three straight on Nos. 14-16. He closed with nine straight pars, and at 8 under trails Stegmaier by five as he looks for his first win.

Biggest disappointment: After 12 birdies across his first 36 holes, Brendon de Jonge failed to make a birdie until No. 18 en route to a third-round 73. The Zimbabwean began the day just one shot off the pace but bogeyed three of his first nine holes. At 7 under, he now trails by six shots.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: Stegmaier's tale is not well known, but he is a player to root for. After giving up the game in 2009 following a pair of wrist surgeries, he returned to the Tour and needed a top-10 finish at the final regular-season event last month just to make the 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.

Shot of the day: Cejka was coming off a birdie on the par-5 16th when he opted for a 6-iron on the par-3 17th. The shot went in from 212 yards for an ace, the fifth hole-in-one on the hole since 2000, and it propelled the German firmly into contention.

Quote of the day: "I would have thought I would be a lot more nervous, but I just feel like I belong in this position." - Stegmaier