Pampling Perseveres for First Win


The International 2004CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Rod Pampling eagled the par-5 17th Sunday for a crucial five points that lifted him to his first PGA Tour title at The International. Pampling grinded for two points in the final round for a 31-point total at Castle Pines.
'I would say it's draining and the things that go with winning, but that's all the stuff that I think you want to have happen,' said Pampling.
Alex Cejka was making a charge on the back nine until a double bogey at the 16th cost him three points and the lead. Cejka tallied a single point on Sunday to finish alone in second place with 29. Tom Pernice, Jr., who won this event in 2001, followed with 27 points.
While the final round of The International typically features wild finishes under the modified Stableford scoring, which awards points for birdies, eagles and double eagles, and subtracts points for bogeys and double bogeys, difficult pin placements brought the players to their knees.
'It was a crazy day,' said Cejka. 'Nobody really made a big move in the beginning.'
Chris DiMarco, who was dominant over the first two rounds, continued his weekend plunge, losing five points.
Pampling wasn't able to take advantage throughout the front nine with a birdie and a pair of bogeys on the front nine, and the Australian continued to struggle on the inward half.
'No one I think took control early, which I thought it was there for it to happen,' said Pampling. 'And obviously, I couldn't make it happen, although I was trying awfully hard.'
Pampling's approach to the 10th bounced over the green en route to a bogey and the loss of one point. He lost another point with a bogey at the 12th but looked to be in good position after his tee shot to the par-3 16th landed just off the green within 14 feet of the hole.
The 34-year-old, who moments before saw Cejka double bogey the same hole, three-putted for another bogey to remain one back.
Pampling then walked on to the par-5 17th, a hole that has featured the rare double eagle on occasion throughout the history of his event. Pampling missed the putting surface with his approach, but he had a good look at the hole as his ball came to rest in the short grass just off the green.
'I knew we had to keep it right of the hole because it was back up the hill,' he said.
Pampling drained the eagle putt to surge into the top spot for the last time. He parred the closing hole and Cejka was unable birdie the last, granting Pampling his maiden title.
Cejka was battling on the front side with a birdie at the fourth, but he fell down the leaderboard with a bogey at the seventh and a double bogey at the par-5 eighth, losing four points over a span of two holes.
The 34-year-old began to hit some shots on the back nine and dropped his second inside 5 feet for a birdie at the 13th. He then hit his third shot to 4 feet for a birdie at the par-5 14th to move into the lead alone with 30 points.
Cejka shanked his tee shot at the 16th, however, sending his ball into the gallery. He managed to find the green with his second, but was unable to save par, leaving his putt a few feet short of the hole. While a bogey would have only cost him a point, Cejka pushed his putt around the hole and watched as it lipped out.
He recovered quickly with a birdie at the 17th but it was not enough to catch Pampling.
'I've been playing actually very well the last couple of weeks, but I just didn't score that well,' said Cejka. 'And especially this week, I was scoring well. Even when I hit bad shots, I had great recoveries and that's what I was waiting for.'
Duffy Waldorf had a strong final round with eight points to move into fourth place with 26. Jay Haas gained important Ryder Cup points with a fifth-place finish after a 4-point performance left him with 25 for the tournament.
DiMarco followed with 24 points along with Stewart Cink and Tim Petrovic. European Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer tied for ninth with Bob Tway and Mathias Gronberg with 23 points.
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