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.