Rod Pampling snagged the early storylines with his opening-round play at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and when the tournament closed he was still on top of the leaderboard. Here’s how things ended up at TPC Summerlin, where Pampling hung on for his first win in more than a decade:
Leaderboard: Rod Pampling (-20), Brooks Koepka (-18), Lucas Glover (-17), Francesco Molinari (-16), Geoff Ogilvy (-16)
What it means: Pampling opened the week with a course-record 60, and he was one shot behind Glover entering the final round. That deficit was intact after Pampling missed a short par putt on No. 12, but the Aussie took sole possession of the lead when Glover bogeyed No. 17 and closed things out with an emphatic birdie on No. 18. Pampling only gained entry into this week’s field via a clerical error, but he made the most of the opportunity and now at age 47 has his third career victory and an exemption through 2019.
Round of the day: While the score didn’t net a comeback victory as it did for Smylie Kaufman a year ago, Molinari still made up plenty of ground with a 10-under 61. The Italian holed out for eagle from 124 yards on No. 11, his second hole of the day, then added eight more birdies to shoot the lowest score of his PGA Tour career and net his third straight worldwide top-10 finish.
Best of the rest: Pampling got things going with four birdies in a six-hole stretch from Nos. 4-9, but he gave back shots with bogeys on No. 10 and No. 12. The Aussie bounced back with a trio of pivotal birdies, each putt longer than 11 feet on Nos. 13-15, then raised his hands in victory when his 32-foot birdie on No. 18 poured into the middle.
Biggest disappointment: It was a strong week for Glover, but he’ll likely still think about what might have been given his position through 70 holes. An errant tee shot on No. 17 left Glover one shot behind, then he closed with another bogey that cost him both a shot at the title and some valuable FedEx Cup points (not to mention cash). It’s Glover’s third straight instance where a 54-hole lead didn’t net a victory, as he still has only one win since his 2009 U.S. Open victory.
Shot of the day: Pampling seemed on the cusp of a win after finding the green with his approach to No. 18, but the clinching putt came from 32 feet and always seemed on track to find the bottom of the hole.
Quote of the day: “Coming back from what we had the last few years, to get the win under the belt, it’s phenomenal.” – Pampling