They played against each other as trainees, won the same PGA TOUR event in Las Vegas and now Rod Pampling and Andre Stolz have finished joint winners at the 2023 Sunshine Coast Masters.
One of the most popular events on the PGA Legends Tour circuit attracted a host of iconic names within Australian golf, Twin Waters Golf Club offering pristine playing surfaces in which to showcase their skills.
Stolz and Sanctuary Cove Legends Pro-Am winner Brad Burns shared the lead after day one with matching rounds of 5-under 67, one shot clear of Jason Norris.
A winner in his first start at Noosa, Pampling began the second round two shots off the pace but produced a brilliant 7-under 65 with a grandstand finish to match Stolz’s two-round total of 10-under par.
“It’s always great to be back up here and playing the course and seeing the old guys,” said Pampling, a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR Champions in the US.
“Obviously Andre has been the champion here for a few years so it was nice to tie him.
“It’s good fun just to see everyone. It’s more catching up with the old boys and having fun. Obviously the golf is good which is a bonus.”
Stolz joked that he’d be happy to see Pampling return to Texas given his recent form but was thrilled to have the Queenslander back playing on home soil.
“We played together at Robina Woods when we were trainees – I might have been a year ahead of him – so I’ve known him for a long time,” said Stolz.
“It’s great to see him having a great career and winning again on the Champions Tour this year and great to have him back here playing.”
HOW THE WINNING ROUND UNFOLDED
For much of the second round Stolz seemed on course for a successful defence of his 2022 title.
He holed a bunker shot for birdie after missing the green left at the par-3 17th and stood on the 18th tee with a two-stroke lead.
As Stolz plotted what he thought would be a tournament-winning par, Pampling threw a final Hail Mary.
He lasered a brilliant second shot into just a few feet to set up eagle for the second straight day to tie Stolz at 10-under.
Pampling had a chance to win outright at his final hole – the par-5 first – but would have to settle for par and a shared victory.
Stolz and Pampling finished two shots clear of Norris (68) with Burns (72), Brendan Chant (70) and Murray Lott (69) tied for fourth three shots further back.
WHAT THE WINNERS SAID
Andre Stolz: “I checked the leaderboard walking to the 18th tee. I’d forgotten what hole Rod was on so I checked the leaderboard and I was two in front. Two minutes later I check again and see that Rod has made eagle.
“I thought the course was playing fantastic, as it usually does. I’ve been lucky enough to play here a lot over the past couple of years so if I’ve half figured out the greens. I don’t think I’ve fully figured them out yet.
“Played pretty nice the past two days which was good because I’ve been struggling with my striking a little bit.”
Rod Pampling: “I needed something special to happen. I didn’t realise that Andre had made birdie on 17 but it was a good number and it came out perfect.
“It was just one of those shots that landed and rolled up nice and close which made it a comfortable putt to tap in.”
T1 Andre Stolz 67-67—134
T1 Rod Pampling 69-65—134
3 Jason Norris 68-68—136
T4 Brad Burns 67-72—139
T4 Brendan Chant 69-70—139
T4 Murray Lott 70-69—139
The Sunshine Coast Series moves to Maroochy River on Sunday for the 36-hole Queensland Senior PGA Championship to be followed by the season-ending Living Choice Australian Legends Tour Championship at Headland Golf Course from December 20-21.