Rod Pampling narrowly missed out on some rarified air, as the Aussie parred his final two holes to shoot an 11-under 60 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Pampling’s score tied the course record set by J.J. Henry during the opening round in 2013, and it gave him an early two-shot lead over John Huh.
Pampling sparked his round with a 134-yard hole-out for eagle on No. 6, then added another eagle when his approach from 233 yards on the par-5 16th rolled to within 6 inches of the hole. That meant Pampling needed to birdie one of his final two holes to shoot a 59 on the par-71 layout, but his 22-foot attempt on No. 17 came up short and his 12-foot birdie try on the final hole grazed the right edge.
“My eyes were telling me it was pretty straight,” Pampling told reporters. “It was on line when it started, it just had a little tail on it. So I’m glad I gave it a chance. It didn’t come up short, so it was a decent putt. I just picked a bad line.”
Pampling was attempting to become the seventh player in PGA Tour history to break 60, and the second to do so at this event. Chip Beck shot a 59 in 1991 at nearby Sunrise Golf Club.
Pampling was one of 12 players who gained entry into this week’s field only when a “clerical error” allowed the field size to expand from 132 to 144.
The 47-year-old has two career Tour titles, most recently at the 2006 Arnold Palmer Invitational. He made only nine cuts in 18 starts last season, with his best result a T-26 at the Puerto Rico Open, but regained his card at the Web.com Tour Finals in September. Pampling tied for 42nd last week at the Sanderson Farms Championship.