Queenslander Rod Pampling is hoping to apply early pressure to runaway leader Tim Herron as he seeks to break an 18-year drought for Aussies on the Champions Tour at the Principal Charity Classic in Iowa.
There have been a number of near-misses but not since Rodger Davis won the 2003 Toshiba Seniors Classic has an Australian tasted success on the US seniors circuit but after a second consecutive round of 5-under 67 Pampling is well and truly in the mix.
Bogey-free through 36 holes, Pampling will start the final round level with Shane Bertsch in a tie for second at 10-under and four shots back of Herron (14-under) and knows that the Wakonda Club’s front nine can deliver some quick leaderboard shifts if he can start positively.
“Front nine could change everything,” Pampling said. “Right now the game plan’s working, so we’ll just keep it at that.
“Obviously you feel like you have to be a bit more aggressive, but you’ve just got to really tackle your own way you want to play the golf course.
“If you keep knocking it close, they’ll see that and puts some pressure on them. That’s what you’ve got to do.
“But obviously Tim’s playing some good golf, and I think he’s won a few events, so I think he knows what to do.”
Top-five in each of his first two starts following the resumption of the 2020 season last August, Pampling’s best result this year is a tie for 14th at the Regions Tradition and knows what a win would represent.
“There’s always the expectation when you come out here, you’re supposed to win straight away,” said the 51-year-old whose chip-in birdie at the par-4 10th was the highlight of his second round.
“We got hit with the COVID scenario so we had a bit of time off and kind of lost a bit of the momentum.
“Thankfully it’s coming around. It would be great to kickstart next year and the years on.”
Stephen Leaney is the next best of the Australians at 2-under par in a tie for 32nd with David McKenzie tied for 47th (even par) and John Senden tied for 72nd (4-over).