LAS VEGAS — The birdie putt was still a foot from the hole when Rod Pampling raised his right arm and thrust it in the air as the balltumbled into the cup.
His victory Sunday in Las Vegas was a long time coming.
Pampling left nothing to chance by holing a 30-foot putt on the final hole at TPC Summerlin to close with 6-under 65 for a two-shot victoryin the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, his first PGA Tour title in 10 years.
“Sometimes you amaze yourself at what you can do under the gun, which hadn’t been for a long time,” Pampling said.
The 47-year-old Australian last won on the PGA Tour at Bay Hill in 2006. He lost his card and spent two full seasons on the Web.com Tour,then had to return to the Web.com Tour Finals at the end of last season just to get his card back.
He was No. 451 in the world ranking.
And now Pampling is headed to Kapalua for the Tournament of Champions in January, and he’ll be returning to the Masters Tournamentfor the first time in 10 years.
“It’s extremely rewarding,” Pampling said. “Winning Arnold Palmer’s event is still on top. But coming back from what we’ve had the lastfew years, to get a win under the belt, it’s phenomenal.”
Brooks Koepka closed with 67 to finish second.
Lucas Glover, going for his first victory in five years, was tied with Pampling with two holes to play until he made a bogey from the bunkeron the par-3 17th. He shot 69 to finish third.
Francesco Molinari of Italy had a career-best 61 and tied for fourth with Geoff Ogilvy (68) and Harris English (67).
Pampling kept his poise even when it looked as though the final round was getting away from him. He began the back nine with twobogeys in three holes – a three-putt on No. 10, missing the green with a pitching wedge on No. 12 – and fell one shot behind Glover.
Pampling bounced back with a 12-foot birdie putt, then an 8-iron to 18 feet for birdie on the 14th to catch Glover. Pampling made a 12-foot birdie on the next hole to keep pace, and his biggest shot might have been for par.
Tied for the lead on the par-5 16th, he pushed his drive well right into rough so deep that Pampling asked to identify his ball, and it was agood thing – it wasn’t his ball. His ball was a foot to the right, buried so badly that he could only muscle it about 30 yards behind anothertree, and he had to lay up short of the water. From 121 yards, Pampling hit wedge into 6 feet and saved par to stay tied.