Los Angeles - Australian Rod Pampling fired a blistering
11-under par 60 to seize the US PGA Tour lead on Thursday in Las Vegas, where
two closing pars left him shy of a 59.
The 47-year-old veteran's 12-foot birdie putt at 18 rolled
left to deny him a spot in the exclusive club of golfers to shoot 59 in
He had left a 21-footer at 17 just short.
Pampling, who had two eagles and seven birdies in his first
16 holes, wasn't too disappointed.
He knew he was doing something special after he stuck his
three-iron second shot at the par-five 16th within a foot for his second eagle
of the day.
"When I hit it close on 16, that got my attention as to
this is a really good round," Pampling said. "The putt on 17 just
fell short in the jaws and on 18 I gave myself a bad read.
"I thought it was straight, but it just had that little
left-to-right. I would have loved to have made one for a 59, but it was just a
good solid day all around."
Pampling claimed his most recent PGA Tour title at the 2006
Arnold Palmer Invitational. He had to head back to the developmental Web.com
Tour Finals to regain his playing privileges.
His sparkling effort had him two strokes in front of John Huh
and Brooks Koepka, who both shot 62 at TPC Summerlin.
"I've been hitting it quite well for at least two or
three months," Pampling said. "I just haven't been driving it super.
And I had my coach come yesterday and we just fixed up a little bit of that.
"So that was good. And the irons were great. We hit a
lot of close shots."
Koepka had nine birdies without a bogey - including
back-to-back birdies to close his round at the eighth and ninth.
"I obviously made a lot of putts today," said
Koepka, the US Ryder Cupper who won his first US PGA Tour title in Phoenix last
year. "(I) grinded hard early on in the week making sure the putting was
right, and it showed today."
Huh's nine birdies included five in a row from the
Billy Horschel was alone in fourth on 64 when play was
halted by darkness with a handful of players still on the course. Australian
Matt Jones and American Luke List were a stroke back on 65.
Leading partial first-round scores on Thursday in the US PGA Tour
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas,
Nevada (USA unless noted, round halted by darkness to resume Friday):
60 - Rod Pampling (AUS)
62 - John Huh, Brooks Koepka
64 - Billy Horschel
65 - Matt Jones (AUS), Luke List
66 - John Senden (AUS), Cameron Smith (AUS), Aaron Wise, Pan Cheng-Tsung (TPE), Shawn Stefani, Chris Kirk, James Hahn
- Kevin Streelman, Harris English, Geoff Ogilvy (AUS), Chad Campbell,
Ryan Brehm, Spencer Levin, Martin Flores, Kyle Stanley, Harold Varner,
Sean O'Hair, Vijay Singh (FIJ), Keegan Bradley, Charles Howell