Australian Rod Pampling fell just short of being the second man this year to shoot a sub-60 in a round, “settling” for a 60 at the first round of the Shriners Classic in Las Vegas.
The 47-year-old had seven birdies and a pair of eagles, but missed long putts on 17 and 18 that would have gotten him into the record books.
“The putt on 17 just fell short in the jaws, and on 18, I gave myself a bad read,” Pampling said. “I thought it was straight, but it just had that little left to right.
“I studied the hole a lot, and I looked at the book — all these new books have the slopes and everything in it. I was looking at it and making sure I was spot on. My eyes were telling me it was pretty straight. I hit it straight. It was on line when it started. It just had a little tail on it. I’m glad I gave it a chance. It didn’t come up short. I just picked a bad line.”
The dazzling round has him in the lead, but not by much. Several other players tore up the field as well. Americans John Huh and Brooks Koepka each shot 62 to sit two strokes back, with Billy Horschel firing a 64 to position himself four strokes back in fourth place.
Pampling shot a 6-under 29 on the front nine with four birdies and an eagle 2 on the par-4 No. 6. He was 11-under through 16 holes after eagling No. 16.
Huh was 3-under at the turn and 4-under through 12 before birdying five straight holes to shoot the back 9 with a 6-under 30.
The course was friendly to nearly every player. Eighty-three men were at least 1-stroke under par after 18 holes.
Pampling has bounced back between the PGA Tour and the Web.com tour the last few seasons. He has two PGA wins in his career, the most recent coming at Bay Hill in March of 2006.