There is more than one way to win a golf tournament, as Australian Rod Pampling proved today, winning the Boeing Classic outside Seattle with his feet up in the clubhouse. More or less.
Pampling, 51, claimed his maiden PGA Tour Champions victory by finishing his round of 66 at the Club at Snoqualmie Ridge, tied with Jim Furyk, then repairing to the clubhouse to await his fate, which at the time seemed certain to place him second or worse.
“Yeah, I think he’s got four holes to go, so I’m not going to hit balls for an hour, whatever it is,” Pampling said. “I’ll just go in the locker room and just chill out for a bit.”
Furyk, who recently won the US Senior Open, seemed more than likely to birdie one of his six remaining holes. Instead, he missed birdie chances at 13, 14, 15 and 16, bogeyed 17 to fall one behind, then parred 18, allowing Pampling, by then on the range in the event of a playoff, to begin a celebration that seemed unlikely to occur for much of the afternoon.
“There’s so much pressure getting your first win and finally to get it done is great,” Pampling said. “You know, it’s golf, sometimes it works out.”
A first win was inevitable, sooner or later. Pampling had finished in the top 25 in 18 of his first 25 starts as a senior and had earned nearly $US1.2 million.
But a bogey on the 16th hole threatened to end his bid for win No.1. “The bogey on 16, yeah, that was the only shot really today that I wasn’t happy with,” he said.
He completed 54 holes in 12-under par 204, a number that might have been one short until Furyk, no doubt a future Hall of Famer, began misfiring with his putter. Furyk closed with a two-under par 70 and tied for second, with Tim Herron and Billy Mayfair. Woody Austin also had a chance to tie Pampling at 18, but made bogey after a perfect drive and shared fifth.