Rod Pampling surges into lead at Principal Charity Classic

Australian Rod Pampling fired a 7-under 65 on Saturday to grab a share of the lead after two rounds of action at the Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa.

Pampling carded nine birdies against two bogeys and now sits at 14-under 130 through 36 holes. He moved four spots up the leaderboard to join Ernie Els of South Africa in first. Els posted a 4-under 68 on Saturday after coming into the second round with a two-shot lead.

“Hit a little bit better today, so that was happy, made me happier,” Pampling said. “Making good putts, making the putts we’re supposed to and just not doing too many silly things, which has unfortunately been around a little bit too much the last month.”

With just one stroke separating him and Els from Germany’s Bernhard Langer and Canadian Stephen Ames, Pampling is planning to take Saturday’s game plan into the final round at Wakonda Club.

“If the pin allows (you) to be aggressive, you be aggressive. If not, play for the middle of the green and see if you can roll a few putts in,” Pampling said. “The greens are rolling beautiful for I don’t know how many months they are, but they’re rolling nicely out there. And I’m seeing them well, which obviously helps.

“Yeah, no change of strategy, just if it’s there, go for it.”

Langer had Saturday’s low round with a 9-under 63, a performance that was highlighted by an eagle at the par-5 eighth. He also had nine birdies, including three in a row at Nos. 16-18 to close his round.

“It always feels good to play well, especially breaking your age by three,” the 66-year-old Langer said. “I had some good starts the last few rounds I played and then often didn’t finish well because I don’t know whether the leg is swelling up so bad, my hip tightens up and my back feels stiff the longer the day goes.

“So it was nice to finish today with three birdies.”

Ames ended up with a 67 thanks in large part to a string of four straight birdies, an impressive run that started at the par-4 sixth.

David Duval (65 on Saturday), Kevin Sutherland (66) and Vijay Singh of Fiji (68) are tied for fifth, two shots back.

Chad Campbell (67) and Heath Slocum (68) are T8, and Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez, who ended up with a 70, sits in sole possession of 10th.

–Field Level Media