October 24, 2015 / 2:36 AM / 4 years ago

Rookie Stegmaeir leads second round in Las Vegas

(Reuters) - PGA Tour rookie Brett Stegmaier vaulted into the lead when play was suspended in fading light late in the second round at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas on Friday.

Brett Stegmaier tees off on hole number seven during the second round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin at TPC Summerlin. Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

On a day when Tony Finau made an albatross, Stegmaier upstaged his better-known rivals to pick up six shots in 15 holes at TPC Summerlin in the Nevada desert.

The 32-year-old from Connecticut, in only his fifth start on tour, was among 14 players unable to finish before darkness.

Stegmaeir, on 11-under, heads fellow Americans Chad Campbell (67), Morgan Hoffman (66) and Tyler Aldridge (68) by one stroke.

Aldridge, a journeyman who has played most of his competitive golf on satellite tours in the United States and Canada, nearly holed out with his second shot at the par-four 18th, tapping in from six inches for his third birdie in the final four holes.

He was delighted to be in contention for a maiden PGA Tour title after playing just one full season on the U.S. circuit, back in 2009.

“I’m very pleased,” the 31-year-old told Golf Channel.

“I am hitting the ball well, putting well and things are going my way. It feels great (to be back on the PGA Tour).

“It’s been a while and I’ve put a lot of hard work in. I’m just looking forward to what’s to come.”

American world number five Rickie Fowler, the highest-ranked player in the field, opened with a one-over 72 on Thursday, but bounced back with a 65 that featured an 80-foot putt for eagle at the 13th to move within six shots of the lead.

“It’s nice to have a tee time tomorrow,” Fowler said after ensuring he would make the cut.

“I didn’t hit the center of the (club) face a whole lot yesterday. (Today I) made a couple of good swings, got things going, made a few putts.”

Big-hitting compatriot Finau had the shot of the day when he holed out with his second shot from 235 yards at the par-five 13th.

Finau was not far away from a second albatross two holes later when he drove the green at the par-four 15th where his ball landed a few feet left of the pin.

He birdied the hole, but double-bogeyed the next and, with one hole left, will miss the cut unless he birdies the 18th hole on Saturday morning.

Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; and Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Ransom

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