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HE might have won his third career title on the PGA Tour a fortnight ago but Rod Pampling came back to earth with a thud on Saturday at his home club of Royal Queensland.
Playing in the comp with the members off a plus 6 handicap, the former Australian Masters winner posted a respectable 37 points.
It wasn’t enough to keep his winning streak alive but the 47-year-old didn’t walk way empty handed.
“I did win the pro pin, which was 13 balls, so yeah, my account’s full again,” he told a press conference at Royal Sydney Golf Club ahead of this week’s Australian Open.
Pampling was a surprise winner at the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas two weeks ago, his third victory on the world’s toughest circuit, but first in 10 years.
It’s been a difficult few years for Pampling who has bounced between the PGA and secondary Web.com circuits since losing his full card in 2013.
But despite the tough times, the Caboolture native says he never lost the desire to compete at the top level.
“As soon as you lose that, it’s too hard,” he said. “The competition’s too strong. But, I’ve never lost the desire. I know it’s always been in there.
ROD PAMPLING HOLES THE WINNING PUTT IN LAS VEGAS:
“I’ve always felt good. So, you just keep working. Obviously there still needs to be a light somewhere there that you can see. I could still see it was there.
“It was just getting a chance for it to happen and thankfully we had the chance and we took the opportunity.”
Pampling said he likes the Royal Sydney layout and is looking forward to the week.
“Obviously the Australian fits my eye a little bit better,” he said with a laugh referencing his final round of 10-under 61 in 2015.
“But the golf course is good. Although, the greens seem very small. I think over the years they’ve come in a little bit; a lot smaller than I remember, but the course is playing great.
“I feel good, confidence is high. It’s like anything, you’ve still got to have a little bit of luck, so hopefully we’ll get a little bit of that and we’ll be right there at the end.”
He said while the game has seen dramatic changes in his more than 20 years as a playing professional he still feels competitive.
“The biggest change is the carry of the driver, the carry they have,” he said of the modern crop of young professionals.
“I still think I hit it pretty hard, but I just don’t carry it like these guys do, so my direction needs to be a bit better.
“You take the drive away and the rest of it’s pretty similar.”
Pampling will play the first two rounds with Cameron Smith and amateur sensation Brett Coletta.
The group hits off the first tee at midday Thursday.
Photo: Justin Falconer
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