Pampling in front in ‘bizarre’ Reno
Rod Pampling is “not at all surprised” that his opening 5-under 67 leads the way at the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open.
Rod Pampling was “not at all surprised” that his five-under-par 67 led the way after the opening round of the US PGA Tour’s Legends Reno-Tahoe Open in Nevada.
Four birdies in five holes from the 11th, including one he holed from a bunker at the 14th, put Pampling out in front after he had turned in one under in windy conditions he described as ‘bizarre’.
“It can be blowing 20 miles an hour straight at you and then all of a sudden it’s 20 the other way,” said the 39-year-old after taking a one-stroke lead over a group which included two-time winner Vaughn Taylor and 2003 US PGA champion Shaun Micheel.
“You’re always looking at the trees and hopefully picking the right club. You’ve got to be on the ball.
“It was kind of bizarre how it would be blowing so strong and then just totally stop. Then it would go a different way and then stop. It was hard work.”
Along with Taylor and Micheel, Pampling’s compatriot Marc Leishman, New Zealander Grant Waite and Americans Jonathan Kaye, Rich Barcelo, Steve Pate, Grant Waite and Spencer Levin also shot 68s at the Montreux Golf and Country Club, where the ever-changing windy conditions especially hampered the early starters.
The 2003 US PGA champion Shaun Micheel – whose major win remains his only victory on the circuit in more than 300 starts – birdied three of the final five to sign for a 69.
Former US Amateur champion Jeff Quinney, seeking his first win, was five under with two to play, but dropped a shot at each of them and also had to settle for a 69.
Reflecting on his late slip-up, Quinney said: “You hate to bogey a last hole, let alone a par-five downwind.
“I hit a horrible tee shot that got knocked down by the tree and basically had to lay up twice.
“It felt like the wind was swirling a little bit. The greens are firm and fast and it’s just an ultimate test.”
The Australian pair of James Nitties and Steve Elkington and Americans Robert Garrigus, Paul Azinger, Ryan Palmer, Parker McLachlin and Jonathan Byrd also finished three under.
Byrd, starting on the back nine, had been six under, but bogeyed three of his last four holes to slip back into the pack.
With all the stars at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, this tournament is a chance for one of the lesser lights to shine – and strike it rich with a first prize of US dollars 540,000 (£321,000).
There is also a place in next week’s US PGA up for grabs, although, as a past champion, Micheel is among those already sure of his spot.
Micheel revealed that he has concerns over his mother’s health at the moment.
“She’s very sick and I have a lot of things on my mind really that don’t even pertain to golf,” he said.
“Sometimes I get out there I don’t want to be there. But she wants me to play, so I’m doing my best to do that.”
England’s Greg Owen was four under after 13 holes but in the end signed for a level-par 72 after bogeying four of the last five holes.
ALL THE FIRST ROUND SCORES
(USA unless stated, par 72):
67 Rodney Pampling (Aus)
68 Spencer Levin, Steve Pate, Jonathan Kaye, Grant Waite (Nzl), Vaughn Taylor, Marc Leishman (Aus), Rich Barcelo
69 Paul Azinger, Robert Garrigus, Jeff Quinney, Parker McLachlin, James Nitties (Aus), Steve Elkington (Aus), Shaun Micheel, Ryan Palmer, Jonathan Byrd
70 John Rollins, Guy Boros, Eric Axley, Joe Ogilvie, Wil Collins, Troy Kelly, Carlos Franco (Par), Rocco Mediate
71 Patrick Sheehan, Kris Blanks, Steve Flesch, Scott Piercy, Chez Reavie, Matthew Jones (Aus), Mark Wilson, Kevin Na, Troy Matteson, Spike McRoy
72 Tom Byrum, Chris Riley, Colt Knost, Billy Mayfair, Mark Hensby (Aus), Greg Kraft, J.L. Lewis, Matt Bettencourt, Greg Owen (Eng), Tommy Armour III, Daniel Chopra (Swe), Jimmy Walker, Dicky Pride, Martin Laird (Sco), Ken Duke, Tyler Aldridge, Matt Weibring, Jason Gore, Brendon De Jonge, Chris Stroud, Scott McCarron, Chris DiMarco, Greg Chalmers (Aus), Steve Lowery, Matt Kuchar, Alex Cejka (Ger), Michael Allen, J J Henry, Kevin Stadler, Jay Williamson, Tommy Gainey
73 Francesco Molinari (Ita), Aron Price (Aus), Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), Phil Tataurangi (Nzl), Tag Ridings, Todd Fischer, Ted Purdy, Tom Pernice Jnr., Heath Slocum, George McNeill, Jay Delsing, David Peoples, Scott Gutschewski, Bob Heintz, James Oh (Kor)
74 Kirk Triplett, Mark Brooks, Neal Lancaster, J.P. Hayes, Ian Leggatt (Can), Cliff Kresge, Charlie Wi (Kor), Brian Vranesh, Dean Wilson, Robert Damron, Glen Day
75 Charles Warren, Omar Uresti, Darron Stiles, Harrison Frazar, Brent Geiberger, Peter Lonard (Aus), Ricky Barnes, Aaron Baddeley (Aus), Aaron Watkins, Jeff Maggert, Derek Fathauer, Arjun Atwal (Ind), Scott Sterling, Brendon Todd, Olin Browne
76 David Gossett, Paul Stankowski, Leif Olson, Casey Wittenberg, David Mathis, Rick Price, Frank Lickliter II
77 Kent Jones, Will MacKenzie, Andres Romero (Arg), Robin Freeman, Jason Schmuhl, Nicholas Thompson
78 Peter Tomasulo, D.A. Points, Bill Lunde, Bryce Molder
79 Craig Barlow
80 Charley Hoffman, Rich Beem
81 Matthew Borchert, Steve Allan (Aus)
83 Brad Adamonis
85 Robert Gamez
WD: Brian Bateman
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