Rod Pampling was not supposed to be in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open this week. No really ... he was literally not supposed to be there. Pampling and 11 other golfers got into the tournament after a clerical error expanded the field from 132 to 144 .
Pampling did not waste any time proving he was excited to be in Las Vegas for the event. He shot a 60 in the first round of the Shriners on Thursday and missed an 11-foot putt on the final hole for what would have been the seventh 59 in PGA Tour history .
"To be honest, I wasn't really thinking too much about it," Pampling said. "Obviously the front nine came around quickly, chipping in and then holing out and bringing the next couple. "
Pampling shot a 29 on the front nine.
"So I got to 5 and 6 under pretty quick. And we just picked up the birdies on the way through. It got there quick, but when I hit it close on 16, that got my attention as to this is a really good round.
"It was nice to finish it off. The putt on 17 just fell short in the jaws and on 18 I gave myself a bad read. I thought it was straight, but it just had that little left to right."
The shot he's talking about on No. 16 was an iron from 250 yards out of the rough that landed about a foot from the cup. It was probably his shot of the day on Thursday.
"I studied the hole a lot, and I looked at the book," Pampling said of the final putt, which he missed to the right. "I was looking at it and making sure I was spot on. My eyes were telling me it was pretty straight. But 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, so it was a decent putt. I just picked a bad lie."
Pampling finished with seven birdies and two eagles on the par-71 course. He leads by just two halfway through the first round.
Pampling is a veteran nearing 50 who made most of his bones on the PGA Tour in the mid-2000s. He hasn't won on that tour since 2006. He hasn't finished top three since 2008. He hasn't even finished top 10 since the 2014-2015 season. He actually hasn't even played that much at all on the PGA Tour as he has bounced back and forth between there and the Web.com Tour.
"I assure you you don't want to be out there because it's hard work," Pampling said of the Web.com Tour. "It's expensive and it's very difficult to get the job done out there. The talent out there is so deep that you know you have to go low, and it's great that you know you have to shoot low. So you don't even get scared. It was great.
"I felt great out there the whole way . I knew I just gotta keep going. It's only day one, so we still got three more of this and the afternoon guys to go. It certainly makes you hungry get and wants you to get back out here where I think I belong."
He proved that in Round 1. Pampling has played just 50 tournaments in the past four seasons, but here he is now out to a lightning-hot start in Las Vegas with a near-59. It highlights what might be the greatest aspect of pro golf -- you never know when magic is going to strike.