SYDNEY (AP) Australian veteran Rod Pampling shot the round of his career to break Jordan Spieth’s course record at The Australian Golf Club with a 10-under 61 on the final day of the Australian Open on Sunday.
Spieth set the previous mark of 63 during the final round last year while winning the Australian Open by six strokes, with Pampling finishing runner-up. It was the first time the Jack Nicklaus-designed course had played at a par-71.
This year, Pampling finished in fourth place with a 6-under 278, but he’s at least qualified for next July’s British Open at Royal Troon for being among the top three finishers here who were not already exempt.
On Sunday, Pampling opened with a bogey, but then recorded nine birdies – including 2s on three of the four par-3s on the course – and an eagle. His birdie on the par-4 17th put him at 8 under, level with Spieth’s record, and the 46-year-old Australian followed with a 60-foot eagle putt on the 18th to break the mark.
”It hasn’t quite sunk in yet,” Pampling said. ”I was just trying to get it close on the last, but it tracked nicely and went in. That was a bonus.”
Pampling had a mid-morning start Sunday because his 54-hole total of 4-over was 14 strokes off the lead. He initially told his family he’d be on a plane and probably home in Brisbane, an hour’s flight from Sydney, by late afternoon.
But when he finished, he was so close to the lead, he had to remain at the clubhouse in case of a playoff. He was even tied for the lead later in the afternoon until Matt Jones pulled away for a one-stroke victory.
”That was the plan … my three kids, they’re at home now, they’re going to be like, `Why aren’t you coming how now,’ but hopefully they saw the putt (on the 18th) and they’ll realize why now.”
He said he’d never shot 10 under in a tournament round before. He opened a Web.com Tour event earlier this year by going 9 under in his first two rounds.
Pampling said he doesn’t usually drink alcohol during tournaments, but a caddie friend visited him on Saturday night so he had a few drinks of a popular rum made in his home state of Queensland. He may have to consider doing that more often.
”I knew I’ve been playing well, but I couldn’t get anything going earlier in the tournament,” Pampling said.