Everything is done with a touch of flair in Vegas.
The story was no different for Rod Pampling, who captured the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in style Sunday, draining a 32-foot birdie putt to edge Brooks Koepka by two shots.
After opening with an 11-under 60 on Thursday, Pampling finished with a 6-under 65 Sunday that included four birdies on his final six holes.
Pampling’s victory is the 47-year-old’s first since 2006 at Bay Hill and the third of his career.
“It’s just an amazing feeling and it’s just what we work so hard for, and it was just nice to finish off with a bomb like that. It makes it even more special,” Pampling said.
Koepka closed with a 4-under 67 to finish at 18 under, just shy of grabbing his second career PGA Tour victory. Koepka gave himself a chance down the stretch, sticking his iron shot to 20 feet. A missed putt from Pampling would have left the door open for Koepka to force a playoff, but the Australian left no doubt as his putt was on line the entire way.
The result is a surprise to many, considering Pampling wasn’t even supposed to be in the field. He got into the tournament due to a clerical error that allowed 144 players into the field instead of the anticipated 132. Ryan Blaum (T-31), Trey Mullinax (T-36), Will Mackenzie and Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (T-48), Seamus Power and Cheng Tsung Pan (T-57) and Mackenzie Hughes (T-68) were the other players who got into the tournament due to the error.
The mistake is certainly a beneficial one for Pampling, who now receives invites to the 2017 Masters, Tournament of Champions, Players Championship and PGA Championship, and is exempt through 2019. The exemption will carry Pampling through on the PGA Tour until his 50th birthday, just in time for him to be eligible for the PGA Tour Champions.
“It’s a great feeling, but you know what, after this week I still think I have a couple of more wins, so I’m looking forward to the next few years and just see what we can do,” Pampling said.
Lucas Glover, who led after 54 holes finished third on 17-under 267 after a final-round 69. It’s Glover’s best finish since his 2011 victory at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I haven’t put four rounds together much less two weeks together in about five years,” Glover said. “So I would have loved to have won today. But perspective is a wonderful thing. And I didn’t hit the shots down the stretch I needed to, and Rod did. And Brooks did. So that’s why they had the putts they had on 18 and I didn’t. Bottom line.”