LAS VEGAS – Rod Pampling shot an 11-under 60 on Thursday in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, missing a chance for a 59 when he parred the final two holes.
The 47-year-old Australian had two eagles and seven birdies in his morning round to match the TPC Summerlin record. He left a 22-footer short on the par-3 17th, and missed from missed from 12 feet on the par-4 18th.
“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.”
Brooks Koepka and John Huh shot 62, and Billy Horschel opened with a 64. Luke List and Matt Jones shot 65, and Jon Rahm also was 6 under with two holes left when play was suspended because of darkness.
Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., shot a 68, Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., shot a 69 and Adam Hadwin, also of Abbotsford, shot a 70. Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., was 2 under through 15 holes and David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., was 1 under through 16.
Pampling hit a 3-iron for a tap-in eagle on the par-5 16th.
“Just one of those as soon as I hit it, I knew it was good,” Pampling said. “Didn’t know it was that good where I could just tap it in, but I knew it was good.”
Pampling had the lowest score in his PGA Tour career that features two victories. He had a 10-under 61 late last year in the final round of the Australian Open. Chip Beck set the tournament record of 59 in 1991 at Sunrise.
Pampling chipped in from 70 feet for birdie on the par-4 third, holed a 9-footer on the par-4 fourth and holed out with a 9-iron from 134 yards for eagle on the par-4 sixth. He hit a 95-yard shot to 2 feet on the par-4 seventh, and two-putted for birdie on the par-5 ninth.
“The front nine came around quickly, chipping in and then holing out,” Pampling said.
He hit a 127-yard shot to 2 1/2 feet on the par-4 11th, chipped to set up a birdie on the par-5 13th, made a 10-footer on the par-4 15th, and eagled the 16th.
“I’ve been hitting it quite well for at least two or three months,” Pampling said. “I just haven’t been driving it super. And I had my coach come yesterday and we just fixed up a little bit of that. So that was good. And the irons were great. We hit a lot of close shots. It was just nice and solid. There was nothing that was extraordinary, but it was just very good.”
Koepka birdied his final two holes in a bogey-free round. He won the Phoenix Open last year for his first tour title and was 3-1 in the United States’ Ryder Cup victory over Europe.
“I obviously made a lot of putts today,” Koepka said. “I feel like I was striking the ball well. Speed was a lot better than it was last week. So grinded hard early on in the week making sure the putting was right, and it showed today.”
Huh also had nine birdies, five in a row on Nos. 13-17 on his first nine.
“If you put yourself in position, I think you can score low,” Huh said. “If you don’t, then you’re going to struggle. I was able to put myself in a good spots.”
Horschel is making his first start since the BMW Championship in early September.
“Been working really hard,” Horschel said. “It was nice to see the putter working.”
Ram birdied Nos. 13-16 and was facing a 20-foot birdie putt on 17 when play was stopped.
Fifty-two-year-old Davis Love III had a 68, and defending Smylie Kaufman finished off a 71 just before dark.