Pampling takes full advantage of conditions

BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2004 Australian Open | Round Two | 26 Nov 2004
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It is one thing getting a break with tee times in a tournament, but another thing altogether taking advantage of it. Rod Pampling got the break with his late and early draws over the first two days at the Hillross Australian Open and then grabbed the opportunity he had been given, with both hands.

At eight under for the tournament he has opened up a four shot lead over first round leader Kurt Barnes and has established a break over some of his, on paper at least, more formidable opponents. An outward nine of four under 31 today, set up his round of 67.

Pampling was quick to acknowledge the favour his draw had given him. “As I walked across here (to the media centre) I noticed just how strong the wind was blowing up the first hole and really am pleased that I am done for the day.”

The golf course changed its nature on day two, the wind swinging from the southerly direction, to a more north easterly pattern and the holes which the players had been finding just drives and short irons quickly became a different proposition. It was vice versa on some holes but the overall wind direction added several shots to an already demanding test and those who had completed their second rounds early were enjoying their lunches as they made progress on the leaderboard.

Defending champion Peter Lonard was one in that category. When he completed his round he was in 18th position, but by time they called a halt to play on day two, he was, not as far out of contention as he had progressed to 10th.

Kurt Barnes did well with the spotlight of leading his National Open well and truly on him as he set out on day two. He tussled with Pampling for the lead for much of the round, but came unstuck over the closing six holes. He dropped five shots in the space of five holes from the 17th but to his credit he stopped the rot with a birdie at the last for a 73 and turned a mini disaster into a finish he could live with. At four under he is Pampling’s closest pursuer so although his finish may have disappointed him, he is still very much in the thick of things.

Brett Rumford, who despite having won the Irish Open this year on the European Tour, came into this event with very few considering him a serious threat. At three under and within five of the lead, he is still certainly that. A triple bogey at his second hole would have sent many packing, but for Rumford he bounced back with a birdie at the next and then later, a back nine of 33 to move into contention.

Stuart Appleby was the pre tournament favourite and that support was justified late on day two when the winner of nearly US$3 million on the 2004 USPGA Tour, made his move late in his round. At two under, the 2001 Australian Open Champion remains a considerable threat to Pampling and others who fancy their chances this weekend.

Paul Gow reached three under for the day and three under for the tournament when he holed a fifteen footer for birdie at the 7th and was out in 32 to be within four at that stage. He slipped back with two bogeys to start the back nine but then an eagle after a brilliant second to the par five fifteenth, saw him back at three under. A bogey at the par five last was a disappointing way to finish what had been a fine round, and indeed still was, but at two under he will have coach, Gary Edwin, wondering just how to split his allegiances tomorrow. Edwin also coaches Rod Pampling.

The lead is significant, especially given that Pampling now lays claim to having won on the USPGA Tour. That performance alone bears testimony to a fine game and the heart to get the job done, but this event is a long way from over. One good round from those back as far as one or two over, will see an interesting scenario evolving as Sunday looms.

The leading amateur at this stage is Victorian Marc Leishman. Leishman started with a triple bogey today but fought his way back to finish with a 73 to be at four over. 18-year-old New Zealander Kevin Chun is at five over along with New South Wales’ Neven Basic, with 17-year-old Queenslander Jason Day at six over. Aron Price was the only other amateur to make the cut at seven over.

The cut fell at seven over with exactly sixty players making it to the weekend.

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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.


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