Australian veteran Rod Pampling has shocked everyone to claim a third PGA Tour victory in Las Vegas.
Rod Pampling’s last professional victory was a surprise win on the Web.com Tour in the middle of 2015 that showed the veteran Aussie golfer wasn’t quite done with yet. Before that, it was a win at the 2008 Australian Masters when he dramatically beat Marcus Fraser in a playoff at Huntingdale. And he hadn’t won on the PGA Tour since winning at Bay Hill in 2006.
Until today, when the 47-year-old Pampling won the Shriners Open in Las Vegas in dramatic fashion.
Pampling begun the week with an incredible 11-under par 60, just shy of an elusive, history-making 59, but went on to make his own history on Sunday by holing a 32-foot birdie putt on the final hole to outlast Americans Lucas Glover and Brooks Koepka and win by two-shots.
Pampling has spent the last two years on the Web.com Tour but regained his PGA Tour card with a late run of great form last season, and showed he isn’t about to make up the numbers back on the big stage.
Like the victory, Pampling’s 6-under par final round was full of surprises.
A chip-in birdie at the eighth hole was the highlight of a perfect front nine to get four-under the card and hold a one shot lead ahead of Glover at the turn. However, two bogeys in the next three holes saw the journeyman drop out of the lead and it was going to take some grinding from the veteran to keep up with the bigger hitting Americans.
Three consecutive birdies in the next three holes had Pampling in a tie for the lead but arguably the moment of the back nine came on the par-5 16th hole when the Australian was forced to chip out from a horrible lie in the rough.
The recovery shot didn’t make it far and Pampling had to chip out of deep rough again. The approach to the green was sublime though and Pampling somehow made a gritty par that kept him in a tie for lead with two holes to play.
When Glover made bogey from the sand at the difficult par-3 17th hole, Pampling was left with one stroke lead going to the final hole. A big drive and solid approach gave himself a good chance at par. Pampling opted for birdie and nailed the putt for a memorable, unexpected two-stroke victory.
47 years young.
Rod Pampling reflects on his huge win. https://t.co/2fMX70HA57
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 6, 2016
Pampling is now exempt on the PGA Tour for another three years, meaning he won’t be scrambling for his Tour card again until he is 50. The victory also sees Pampling pocket the biggest pay cheque of his career $1,188,000 and ensures Queenslander will be playing in all the American majors in 2017.
Geoff Ogilvy also had his best week in two years, finishing in a toe for fourth place, four shots behind Pampling.