Pampling wins big in Vegas
November 06, 2016
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
- Rod Pampling polished off a final round 65 to capture his third PGA TOUR title. (Scott Dykes/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV. – Notes and observations from Sunday’s final round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, where 47-year-old Australian Rod Pampling secured his third PGA TOUR win, the first in over 10 years. For more from TPC Summerlin, check out the Daily Wrap-up.
Pampling Eyes More Wins
Rod Pampling waited over 10 years between victories on the PGA TOUR but after the 47-year-old held off Brooks Koepka and Lucas Glover he was already thinking about more.
The veteran Australian defied an early stumble on the back nine at TPC Summerlin to close in red hot fashion with four birdies in his last six holes, including a 32-foot bomb on the last to clinch a two-shot win.
He is the oldest TOUR winner from his home country and is now exempt through to PGA TOUR Champions age – but he won’t be riding into the sunset quietly.
“It's a great feeling, but you know what, after this week I still think I have a couple of more wins, so I'm looking forward to the next few years and just see what we can do,” Pampling said.
“I'm glad to stay here (on the main TOUR). It's funny, I was talking to Jerry Kelly at Jackson, and it was just the way he had to fight, he said he didn't want to go out with people feeling sorry for him. He wanted to still keep playing hard. And that's why I was like, you know what, you gotta fight hard.
“I don't want to go out with people thinking, oh, Pampling, he's still out here just filling in the numbers. I knew I could still win out here, and this is fantastic, and it justifies the hard work we've put in. So I'm looking forward the next few years."
Former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover produced some impressive golf and while disappointed not to have claimed victory in Las Vegas he did produce back-to-back top 10s for the first time since 2006.
His third place finish, a week after a T5 at the Sanderson Farms Championship, shows his game has the potential to return him to the winners circle.
Not since a T7 at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and a T4 at the Wells Fargo Championship in early 2006 has Glover put two good tournaments together.
“I haven't put four rounds together much less two weeks together in about five years,” Glover admitted.
“So I would have loved to have won today. But perspective is a wonderful thing. And I didn't hit the shots down the stretch I needed to, and Rod did. And Brooks did. So that's why they had the putts they had on 18 and I didn't. Bottom line.”
Glover made two late bogeys but his approach into 18 was aggressive and a little unlucky not to hold the green.
But the biggest improvement for him was putting. A severe bugbear in the past Glover ranked 10th in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting. In the last four seasons he has ranked 178th, 177th, 184th and 132nd in the stat so it was a significant improvement.
“We had a great time. It was a great group, and we played some good golf. I had a couple of bad shots down the stretch, but I was pleased with the way I handled myself,” Glover added.
“The quality of golf in that last group was good. Rod putted unbelievable after missing a short putt on 12, so kudos to him for regrouping and making the putts he made.”
Francesco Molinari gave everyone flashbacks of last year’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open with a sensational surge in the final round.
Just like defending champion Smylie Kaufman did a year ago Molinari posted a 10-under 61 on Sunday but unlike the young American the Italian couldn’t reel in the leaders, instead settling for a T4 finish.
His 61 Sunday bettered his career-low score on TOUR by three strokes (64), set three times previously and most recently at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open (third round).
Starting on the back nine Molinari kick started his big run with a hole out eagle from 124 yards on the 11th and added three birdies to turn 5-under.
Four birdies in the opening six holes on the front side had everyone thinking 59 was a chance but a missed birdie putt on the seventh ended those hopes.
“I didn't think about (59) until when I missed the putt on seven, I started counting, and I thought I needed birdie, eagle to shoot 59, so it's going to be hard,” Molinari said.
“But it was a great day. It's my last round of the year on the PGA TOUR, so it's really amazing to finish the year off like this.”
Wise Beyond Years
NCAA champion Aaron Wise managed to sneak his way into the top-10, allowing him into next week’s OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
Having missed the cut in the first two of three of his allowable seven sponsor exemptions the result was a welcome one for the former Oregon Duck.
At 14-under with nine holes to play Sunday he was still a legitimate contender in the tournament but played the last nine in even par to settle for a T10 finish.
“It's a good week for me to get in contention in a PGA TOUR. I came T16 at John Deere (last season), but that was off a very strong Saturday and I still wasn't very close to the lead,” Wise said.
“Here I was three back going into the third round and four into the final. So I had a chance the whole time, and doesn't look like I'll get it done, but it's just experience I'm gaining and hopefully learning from.”
While the trophy may have been out of reach late in his round he was aware of the implications of a high finish. His start in Mexico will not count against his seven starts.
He made a huge 10-foot par save on the 17th to essentially earn his place.
“I knew that putt on 17 was a big one for me, because I knew I was T7 at that time, and if I dropped a shot I'd go to T13 or something,” he said.
“So I knew it was a big putt, and I was lucky to be able to make that ten-footer and then a good par after I hit a little wayward three-wood off the last tee.”
Brooks Koepka carded a final-round 4-under 67 to finish solo second. It marked his third runner-up finish on TOUR (2016 AT&T Byron Nelson, 2016 FedEx St. Jude Classic, 2016 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open). It has been feast or famine for Koepka in his four starts at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (MC-2013, T4-2014, MC-2015, 2-2016).
Seeking his first PGA TOUR victory since winning in the state of Nevada (2014 Barracuda Championship), Geoff Ogilvy finished T4. Ogilvy, who missed the cut in the Safeway Open and the Sanderson Farms Championship, is taking his one-time Top 50 on Career Money List exemption this season.
Keegan Bradley (T7) recorded his second-straight top-10 finish this season, following a solo-sixth place finish at the CIMB Classic. It marks his first back-to-back top-10 finishes in consecutive starts since posting four in a row in 2013 (T4-The Honda Classic, 7-WGC-Mexico Championship, T3-Arnold Palmer Invitational, T10-Shell Houston Open).
Kyle Stanley finished T7 for his first top-10 finish on the PGA TOUR since a T8 at the 2014 Barracuda Championship (43 starts) in Reno, Nevada.
Pat Perez finished T7 for his first top-10 finish since a T4 at the 2014 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Making his 11th start at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, this week marked his first top-10 finish (T14 in 2010 was previous-best finish).
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Rod Pampling's dramatic winning putt is the Shot of the Day
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"It's awesome ... you dream of it. It happened a couple of times ... just an amazing feeling."— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 7, 2016
-Rod Pampling 🏆 pic.twitter.com/5v32XUwMGu