Pampling Pulls Clear at Colonial

By Sports NetworkMay 19, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Bank of America ColonialFORT WORTH, Texas -- Australian Rod Pampling fired a 7-under 63 on Friday to take the lead midway through the Bank of America Colonial.
Pampling carded eight birdies with one bogey and stands at 10-under-par 130 for a one-shot lead over Stephen Ames, Charley Hoffman and Stewart Cink at Colonial Country Club.
Stephen Ames
Stephen Ames is trying to add this title to his Players Championship victory.
Ames and Hoffman were in the clubhouse with the early lead after matching rounds of 4-under 66. Cink, the overnight leader, reached 9-under-par 131 with a round of 3-under 67.
Tim Herron and Dean Wilson both shot 4-under 66s to move into a tie for fifth place at 8-under-par 132. They were joined by Peter Lonard, who shot a 66.
Fredrik Jacobson fired a bogey-free, 8-under 62 to move from a tie for 67th place overnight into a tie for eighth place at 7 under. Jacobson finished one shot off the course record of 61, carded previously by six different players.
Jim Furyk (67), Arron Oberholser (68), Richard S. Johnson (65) and Henrik Bjornstad (64) are also at minus-7.
Pampling, who claimed his second PGA TOUR title at the Bay Hill Invitational in March, holds a second-round lead for the first time in his career.
In all, there are 19 players within five shots of his lead. Littered among them are five other 2006 winners: Furyk, Ames, Oberholser, Chad Campbell (5 under) and David Toms (6 under).
Also in the mix is defending champion and two-time Colonial winner Kenny Perry, who shot an even-par 70 on Friday and shares 21st place at four-under.
But they are all looking up at the 36-year-old Pampling, whose win in Orlando earlier this year has helped him reach the top 20 on the PGA TOUR money list -- and feel more relaxed on the course.
'You can look back at two tournaments that you have won now and especially with the Bay Hill not that long ago, you still have the good memories from that,' said Pampling, who claimed his first win at the International in 2004.
Pampling started on the back nine Friday and carded three consecutive birdies to begin his round -- also a good way to get relaxed for the round.
'It just allows you to not be so aggressive on some of the holes,' Pampling said of the start. 'You can play a little more safer, and sometimes I played a little bit too safe.'
Pampling made the turn at 7 under after a birdie at the 17th, then pulled within one of clubhouse leaders Ames and Hoffman with a birdie at the par-5 first. A 20-foot birdie putt at the par-4 second moved him into a tie for the lead at minus-9.
Pampling gave a shot back with a bogey at the par-4 third, but took the outright lead with consecutive birdies from the fifth. He knocked his approach shot stiff at the par-4 sixth and rolled in a 3-foot putt to get to 10 under for the lead.
On his last two holes -- the eighth and ninth -- Pampling saved par from bunkers to retain his lead and complete a personal-best score of 63.
'I feel confident if I miss a green I can get it up and down,' claimed Pampling. 'And I say, 'Keep the momentum going.''
Justin Leonard shot a 3-under 67 to reach 1-under-par 139 -- two shots below the plus-1 cut line. Leonard made his 13th consecutive Colonial cut dating back to 1993 as an amateur.
Two-time Colonial winner Ben Crenshaw also made the cut in his record 32nd start at the event. Crenshaw, 54, shot a 67 to reach even-par -- recovering nicely from an opening-round 73.
Among the notables who missed the cut were 2003 PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel, three-time PGA TOUR champion Chris DiMarco, and Verizon Heritage winner Aaron Baddeley.
Jason Gore withdrew after injuring his right elbow while hitting a drive on his 12th hole, the par-4 third. He let his club go after the shot, and it struck near a TV camera behind the 12th tee box. After hitting an awkward second shot, Gore followed his caddie's advice of 'You're done.'
'I winced so bad on that second shot that I just gave my scorecard up and walked in,' said Gore.
The reigning 84 Lumber Classic winner was tied for seventh place overnight, but had slipped all the way to 43rd after going 3 over in 11 holes to drop to minus-1 overall.
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    Match Play security tightens after Austin bombings

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 8:06 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – A fourth bombing this month in Austin injured two men Sunday night and authorities believe the attacks are the work of a serial bomber.

    The bombings have led to what appears to be stepped-up security at this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.

    “I was out here [Sunday]; typically that's the most relaxed day. But they had security officials on every corner of the clubhouse and on the exterior, as well,” said Dylan Frittelli, who lives in Austin and is playing the Match Play for the first time this week. “It was pretty tough to get through all the protocols. I'm sure they'll have stuff in place.”

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    The PGA Tour told The Associated Press on Monday that it doesn't comment on the specifics of its security measures, but that the safety of players and fans is its top priority. The circuit is also coordinating closely with law enforcement to ensure the safety of players and fans.

    Despite the bombings, which have killed two people and injured two others, the Tour has not yet reached out to players to warn of any potential threat or advise the field about increased security.

    “It’s strange,” Paul Casey said. “Maybe they are going to, but they haven’t.”

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    Rosaforte Report: Faxon helps 'free' McIlroy's mind and stroke

    By Tim RosaforteMarch 19, 2018, 8:00 pm

    With all the talk about rolling back the golf ball, it was the way Rory McIlroy rolled it at the Arnold Palmer Invitational that was the story of the week and the power surge he needed going into the Masters.

    Just nine days earlier, a despondent McIlroy missed the cut at the Valspar Championship, averaging 29 putts per round in his 36 holes at Innisbrook Resort. At Bay Hill, McIlroy needed only 100 putts to win for the first time in the United States since the 2016 Tour Championship.

    The difference maker was a conversation McIlroy had with putting savant Brad Faxon at The Bears Club in Jupiter, Fl., on Monday of API week. What started with a “chat,” as McIlroy described it, ended with a resurrection of Rory’s putting stroke and set him free again, with a triumphant smile on his face, headed to this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, and Augusta National in two weeks.

    The meeting with Faxon made for a semi-awkward moment for McIlroy, considering he had been working with highly-regarded putting coach Phil Kenyon since missing the cut in the 2016 PGA Championship. From “pathetic” at Baltusrol, McIlroy became maker of all, upon the Kenyon union, and winner of the BMW Championship, Tour Championship and FedExCup.

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    As a professional courtesy, Faxon laid low, respecting McIlroy’s relationship with Kenyon, who also works with European stars Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Tommy Fleetwood and Henrik Stenson. Knowing how McIlroy didn’t like the way Dave Stockton took credit after helping him win multiple majors, Faxon let McIlroy do the talking. Asked about their encounter during his Saturday news conference at Bay Hill, McIlroy called it “more of a psychology lesson than anything else.”

    “There was nothing I told him he had never heard before, nothing I told him that was a secret,” Faxon, who once went 327 consecutive holes on Tour without a three-putt, said on Monday. “I think (Rory) said it perfectly when he said it allowed him to be an athlete again. We try to break it down so well, it locks us up. If I was able to unlock what was stuck, he took it to the next level. The thing I learned, there can be no method of belief more important than the athlete’s true instinct.”

    Without going into too much detail, McIlroy explained that Faxon made him a little more “instinctive and reactive.” In other words, less “mechanical and technical.” It was the same takeaway that Gary Woodland had after picking Faxon’s brain before his win in this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    Sunday night, after leading the field in strokes gained-putting, McIlroy was more elaborative, explaining how Faxon “freed up my head more than my stroke,” confessing that he was complicating things a bit and was getting less athletic.

    “You look at so many guys out there, so many different ways to get the ball in the hole,” he said. “The objective is to get the ball in the hole and that’s it. I think I lost sight of that a little bit.”

    All of this occurred after a conversation I had Sunday morning with swing instructor Pete Cowen, who praised Kenyon for the work he had done with his player, Henrik Stenson. Cowen attributed Henrik’s third-round lead at Bay Hill to the diligent work he put in with Kenyon over the last two months.

    “It’s confidence,” Cowen said. “(Stenson) needs a good result for confidence and then he’s off. If he putts well, he has a chance of winning every time he plays.”

    Cowen made the point that on the PGA Tour, a player needs 100-110 putts per week – or an average of 25-27 putts per round – to have a chance of winning. Those include what Cowen calls the “momentum putts,” that are especially vital in breaking hearts at this week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

    Stenson, who is not playing this week in Austin, Texas, saw a lot of positives but admitted there wasn’t much he could do against McIlroy shooting 64 on Sunday in the final round on a tricky golf course.

    “It's starting to come along in the right direction for sure,” Stenson said. “I hit a lot of good shots out there this week, even though maybe the confidence is not as high as some of the shots were, so we'll keep on working on that and it's a good time of the year to start playing well.”

    Nobody knows that better than McIlroy, who is hoping to stay hot going for his third WGC and, eventually, the career Grand Slam at Augusta.

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    Golf's Olympic format, qualifying process remain the same

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 6:25 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Potential Olympic golfers for the 2020 Games in Tokyo were informed on Monday that the qualification process for both the men’s and women’s competitions will remain unchanged.

    According to a memo sent to PGA Tour players, the qualification process begins on July 1, 2018, and will end on June 22, 2020, for the men, with the top 59 players from the Olympic Golf Rankings, which is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking, earning a spot in Tokyo (the host country is assured a spot in the 60-player field). The women’s qualification process begins on July 8, 2018, and ends on June 29, 2020.

    The format, 72-holes of individual stroke play, for the ’20 Games will also remain unchanged.

    The ’20 Olympics will be held July 24 through Aug. 9, and the men’s competition will be played the week before the women’s event at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

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    Webb granted U.S. Women's Open special exemption

    By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 6:22 pm

    Karrie Webb's streak of consecutive appearances at the U.S. Women's Open will continue this summer.

    The USGA announced Monday that the 43-year-old Aussie has been granted a special exemption into this year's event, held May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek in Alabama. Webb, a winner in both 2000 and 2001, has qualified for the event on merit every year since 2011 when her 10-year exemption for her second victory ended.

    "As a past champion, I'm very grateful and excited to accept the USGA's special exemption into this year's U.S. Women's Open," Webb said in a release. "I have always loved competing in the U.S. Women's Open and being tested on some of the best courses in the country."

    Webb has played in the tournament every year since 1996, the longest such active streak, meaning that this summer will mark her 23rd consecutive appearance. She has made the U.S. Women's Open cut each of the last 10 years, never finishing outside the top 50 in that span.

    Webb's exemption is the first handed out by the USGA since 2016, when Se Ri Pak received an invite to play at CordeValle. Prior to that the two most recent special exemptions went to Juli Inkster (2013) and Laura Davies (2009). The highest finish by a woman playing on a special exemption came in 1994, when Amy Alcott finished sixth.