By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rod Pampling took a somewhat circuitous route to the Wells Fargo Championship.
He tried to Monday qualify, losing out in a six-man playoff after shooting 65. So Pampling headed to Athens where he planned to play in the Stadion Classic on the Web.com Tour.
Around lunchtime Wednesday, though, Pampling found out he was the first alternate at Quail Hollow. So he hopped in his car and headed to Charlotte -- just in case -- and before he made it to the Queen City, the Aussie got the phone call that he was in.
Pampling, who was the 10th alternate on Monday morning, replaced Ben Crane who withdrew after playing six holes of the pro-am Wednesday afternoon. He's taking advantage of the opportunity, too -- shooting a 69 on Friday that moved him into the top 10 at 6 under for the tournament.
"It was interesting early on," Pampling said. "I didn't hit it great, but I made a lot of really good putts out there which kept the round going. As the day warmed up, I sort of got into the round and started making some birdies and getting up near the lead."
Pampling, who lost his card when he finished 127th on the money list, is playing in just his seventh PGA TOUR event of the season. He started the day with a 16-foot birdie putt on the par-5 10th but promptly gave that back on the next. He birdied two of the three remaining par 5s, though, and added a 19-foot birdie putt on No. 18 for his second straight round of 3 under.
Interestingly, Pampling had played 24 previous rounds at Quail Hollow and only broke 70 once -- a 66 in the final round in 2008 when he tied for eighth. This week is his eighth Wells Fargo Championship but his first since 2010.
"It's certainly nice to be up in contention again," Pampling said.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- For all the back and forth, permutations, and scoreboard watching, only two players moved from outside the top 125 on the money list to inside it, and one of them was the winner of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
Charlie Beljan, who entered the week 139th in money, locked up a PGA TOUR card for the next two years after his two-shot victory. Tim Herron’s journey to full status was a little more harrowing.
Herron, who came here 136th in money, was cruising along with five birdies through his first 14 holes Sunday. Then he double bogeyed the 17th hole after hitting his tee shot into the water and left his putt from just off the green a few inches short of the hole.
“I needed to suck it up and hit it down the left and try to hit a cut and I came over and hooked it in the water,” Herron said. “I thought if I got in at 12 under, I was in.”
But Herron finished at 11 under and thought he was out, kicking and walking on his bag in frustration. “Usually when I walk on something, it breaks,” he said.
Then he was informed he was safe.
“Billy Andrade told me, ‘Don't worry about it; you’re in; don't break any more stuff’,” Herron said. “But I didn't believe him.”
Herron finished 124th, about $13,000 ahead of Kevin Chappell.
Chappell, who tied for 34th, teetered back and forth most of the day before finishing just over $1,800 ahead of Jerry Kelly, who finished outside the top 125 for the first time in more than a decade.
Chappell, though, wasn't safe until Charlie Wi and Josh Teater each made par on the last hole. If either made bogey, Kelly would have moved up on the leaderboard and passed Chappell on the money list.
Kelly, meanwhile, can use a career money exemption.
Only two players fell out of the top 125. Rod Pampling and Billy Mayfair, who began the week 124th and 125th, respectively, both missed the cut and had to watch their fate from home.
Rod Pampling is not particularly old; he’s 42. And he’s not American; he was born in Australia.
But thanks to his partnership with the Old American Golf Club -- the Tripp Davis/Justin Leonard design just north of Dallas – Pampling will have an unique look to his bag.
“The conditioning and emphasis on shot-making at Old American are very similar to what we experience on TOUR,” said Pampling, who is in this week’s field at the AT&T National. “It’s the perfect place for me to work on my game while in the DFW area.”
Pampling has won twice on the PGA TOUR and several times internationally. He already has a top-10 and three top-25 finishes in 2012 and ranks 121st in FedExCup points going into Congressional.
“We’re honored to partner with a proven champion and great guy like Rod,” Old American general manager Mike McCabe said.
Pampling is one of several pros who’ve played Old American since its opening in 2010. Others include K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang, John Senden, Steven Bowditch, Paul Stankowski and Nathan Green.
Old American was recently named No. 5 in Golfweek’s “State-by-State” rankings, making it the highest-rated course in the Metroplex. The USGA held U.S. Open qualifying at the course in May.
DUBLIN, Ohio -- There could be a change at the top of the FedExCup standings this week.
Bubba Watson came into the tournament ranked first by a mere 29 points over Luke Donald. Right now, though, the Englishman, who was tied for sixth through two rounds, is projected to over take the top spot in the standings.
Watson, who was tied for 49th through two rounds, needs a big weekend to hold onto the top spot. He likely needs to finish tied for 14th or better to stay No. 1.
Steve Stricker, who owns a three-stroke lead, entered the week ranked 34th in the FedExCup on the strength of three top-10s and seven top-25s in nine starts this year. A win on Sunday could move him as high as 11th in the standings.
Rod Pampling, who is currently tied for second, entered the week ranked 123rd in the standings. The Aussie has been playing well lately with top-10s in his last two starts on TOUR. Pampling could move as high as 31st should he go on to win this week.
Any player in the top 16 of the standings entering the week can potentially move to No. 1 based on his performance at the Memorial Tournament this week.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio -- It was a good news, bad news kind of round for Rory McIlroy on Friday at Muirfield Village.
The good news? He's still tied for the lead at the Memorial Tournament. And the bad? Well, he simply had too many miscues -- four bogeys and a double bogey to go along with his six birdies.
"I felt as if I played good enough to shoot something in the 60s but I just made too many mistakes out there," McIlroy said. "I made two bogeys on the front nine from the middle of the fairway with a 9-iron and a sand wedge in my hand. You just can't do that sort of stuff. And then 14 was playing tough today with that pin position, but to make double there was quite disappointing.
"But you know, I was happy with how I handled everything because I did make mistakes, but it seemed like every time I made a mistake I came back with a birdie or came back to just sort of rectify it. I feel like I'm playing okay, just need to limit the mistakes going into the weekend."
McIlroy had said on Thursday that he generally likes late-early tee times in the first two rounds. He simply wasn’t able to build on his success in the first round and found himself tied with Ricky Barnes, Rod Pampling and Jonathan Byrd when the morning wave ended.
"Some of the pin positions out there were very tricky," McIlroy said. "... If you miss these fairways, you don't really have a chance to get it close because the rough is so much thicker than it has been previous years. You've got to hit it really well out here to give yourself opportunities.
"I still made six birdies out there today and shot even par. I feel like there's a lot of birdies out there, but it's tough to sort of keep it going the whole way around."
McIlroy, who tied for 10th in last year's Memorial, only hit eight fairways and 12 greens on Friday. Even so, he’s made 13 birdies in 36 holes so he needs to focus on the positives as he stalks his second title on the PGA TOUR.
"I've just got to accept whatever happens out on the golf course," McIlroy said. "Frustrated with some of the mistakes I made, but I'm happy enough. I'm thereabouts going into the weekend.
"There's still a lot of golf left to play. I know that and everyone else knows that. I just need to, as I said, just limit those mistakes. If I can keep the silly bogeys off the card, I think I'll be all right."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio – Rod Pampling needs to make the most of his opportunities this year.
The Aussie finished 151st on the PGA TOUR money list last year so he lost his card. He’s competing on past champion status and this week’s Memorial Tournament is just his eighth start.
Pampling has responded well to the pressure, though. He posted top-10s in his last two starts in his adopted home of Texas and is in position for another after two rounds at Muirfield Village.
Pampling, who is seeking to end a five-year victory drought, fired a bogey-free 66 on Friday to move to 6 under for the tournament. He’s tied for the lead with Ricky Barnes, Jonathan Byrd and Rory McIlroy.
“Obviously it's where you want to be is in contention, to have a chance,” Pampling said. “It was just a beautiful day out there. There was hardly any breeze, golf course is in fantastic condition, and you know, obviously things went our way.”
Pampling, who started on the back side, had matching nines of 33 as he shot in the 60s for the eighth time in 10 starts at Muirfield Village. Three of those came in 2007 when he tied for third.
“It's a good, classic golf course,” Pampling said. “I think it's in great shape. It's not just get up and smash it. You've got to shape it around and put it in positions.
“We've been here enough to know where the good positions are and where the bad ones are. We just keep away from the bad ones, should be all right.”