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Pampling, 48, defending in Vegas: 'Beauty of golf'

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LAS VEGAS – The PGA Tour has been dominated in recent years by young talent winning well ahead of schedule.

But every now and then, an unlikely veteran proves resurgent.

Two years ago at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, a then 23-year-old Smylie Kaufman blitzed TPC Summerlin with a final-round 61 to win.

But last year, it was then 47-year-old Rod Pampling carding a Thursday 60 en route to winning his third PGA Tour title and his first in a decade.

“That’s the beauty of golf,” the defending champion said Wednesday. “Look, [Ryan Armour] last week was, I think, 41. You know [Davis Love III] won at 52. We might not feature as often as the young guys do, but when we’re there, we have a chance. We know how to win, so the experience comes rushing back.”

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Unfortunately, Pampling didn’t feature on leaderboards the rest of the season. His best finish in a full-field the rest of the way was a tie for 26th.

But with winds expected to kick up this week at TPC Summerlin and a mixed fall field, another unlikely winner wouldn’t be a surprise – young or old.

“That’s the beauty of the course here,” Pampling said. “If you’re playing good, you can shoot really low. But if you’re a touch off, it’s still a struggle. So, yeah, if you give me another 60 somewhere – whether it’s the first, second, third or fourth round, I’ll take it.”