Rod Pampling Leads after 54 Holes at the BMW Charity Pro-Am
Australian Rod Pampling drained a 25-footer for birdie on No. 9, his finishing hole, at Thornblade Club for a 2-under 69 to maintain his lead after 54 holes of the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation.
Pampling’s 20-under, 195, after three days places him two shots in front of Maysville, Ken. native Mark Blakefield (64) and Texan Kelly Kraft (66).
Bronson La’Cassie (67) and Argentina’s Miguel Angel Carballo (66) sit four back heading into Sunday.
It was moving day in Greenville and Pampling’s play allowed for others to gain ground. The two-time PGA TOUR winner is driving it very well this week; he is tied for second in fairways hit. Playing from the short grass gave Pampling plenty of opportunities to be aggressive, he just failed to capitalize.
“It’s still foot down and I’m sure second is closer than it was yesterday,” he said. “You can’t take your foot off the accelerator. It’s foot down the whole way and you just take advantage of good shots and I didn’t do that today.”
Pampling got off to a slow start with six consecutive pars before his first birdie. The 45-year-old pro didn’t make many putts on Saturday and could only manage two more birdies. Pampling’s struggles seemed to show around the greens where he failed to get it up and in twice with a putter in his hands from the fringe.
“It’s hard to back up one good round, let alone two in a row,” Pampling said. “I was expecting that. I prepared myself for that and I just let things happen.”
Pampling was able to keep things in perspective, despite his third-round letdown.
“It’s golf,” he said. “There are plenty of things in life that are more important.”
The surprise of the week has to be Blakefield, who earned his spot in this year’s BMW Charity Pro-Am via a T2 finish at the Ocala Marion County Classic in April on the SwingThought.com Tour. The 32-year-old University of Kentucky alum is making the most of his first start on the Web.com Tour this season.
“I was hoping to get myself in a place where I could make something of the opportunity to play,” said Blakefield who recorded seven consecutive birdies on his back nine at Green Valley. “I’m just thankful that I’m here with a chance.”
Kraft on the other hand is looking for his second Tour win of the season. The former U.S Amateur champion had a rough go on his back nine at Thornblade, but still finds himself in the thick of it. Kraft has been in contention many times and has no plans to put any extra pressure on himself before Sunday’s round.
“I’m not going to put a number on it,” Kraft said when asked what he thought it would take to win. “I’m just going to go out, play golf and have fun.”
|1||Rod Pampling (TC)||63-63-69 – 195|
|2||Mark Blakefield (GV)||65-68-64 – 197|
|Kelly Kraft||68-63-66 – 197|
|4||Bronson La’Cassie (GV)||66-66-67 – 199|
|Miguel Angel Carballo (GV)||65-68-66 – 199|
* Saturday’s weather: Mostly sunny in the morning, partly cloudy in the afternoon. Wind SSW 7-14 mph. Overnight low 60. Daytime high 83.
* This week’s purse is $675,000 with $121,500 going to the champion.
* Given the unique three-course format, this week’s cut was made after 54 holes instead of the standard 36 hole cut. 67 professionals survived the cut, which came at 8-under (207). The most players to previously make the cut was 75 in 2014.
* The low six celebrity teams and the low 10 amateur teams qualified to play on Sunday at Thornblade. The Pro-Celebrity leaders after three rounds are pro Peter Malnati and actor Lucas Black (T8/30-under) and pro Ryan Spears and actor Rob Riggle (12/29-under). Leading the Pro-Amateur portion is the team pro Patton Kizzire and partner Rolf Klam (38-under).
* Final-round tee times on Sunday at Thornblade will begin at approximately 8:30 a.m., with tee times going until approximately 10:40 a.m.
* Of the 19 previous BMW Charity Pro-Am events that have played 72 holes, 10 of the 19 third-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win. The last to do so was Mark Anderson in 2013.
* Wes Roach carded 10 birdies and one bogey at Green Valley Country Club to tie the course record at 9-under par 63. The former Duke Blue Devil is currently No. 2 on the Web.com Tour money list and is T28 heading into the final round at Thornblade at 10-under par.
* Kentucky native Mark Blakefield is making just his ninth Web.com Tour start since 2008. His best finish is T13 at the 2010 South Georgia Classic. Blakefield is tied for second after missing a 4-footer for par on the 18th hole to join Roach in tying the course record in the same round.
* Blakefield’s run of seven consecutive birdies on the back nine at Green Valley is the longest birdie streak on Tour this season, surpassing Erik Barnes with six in Brazil. Blakefield came up two short of tying Omar Uresti with nine (1994 Shreveport Open, third round, Southern Trace CC).
* Blakefield is leading the field in greens in regulation this week (48 of 54).
* Former SMU Mustang Kelly Kraft is knocking on the door of his second Web.com Tour victory in 2015. The 2011 U.S. Amateur champion erased a six-stroke deficit to win the Chitimacha Louisiana Open and would become the first multiple winner on Tour this season with a win at Thornblade.
* Aussie Bronson La’Cassie started the third round with a bogey on the par-4, 10th, his first hole of the day. After a par at the 11th he found his groove making three consecutive birdies. La’Cassie turned in 33 and converted three more birdies on the back for a round of 66. He sits T4 and four strokes off the lead. In 2013, La’Cassie earned his first Tour win at the Cox Classic presented by Lexus of Omaha in a playoff over Matt Bettencourt.
* After he opened the 2013 BMW Charity Pro-Am with a 72, La’Cassie posted 66-66-66 and finished T19, his best performance in three previous starts. His final-round scoring average is 68.00.
* In 172 previous starts on the Web.com Tour, Argentina’s Miguel Angel Carballo has won twice (2007 Panama Claro Championship, 2011 Children’s Hospital Classic). Carballo’s best performance in six previous starts at the BMW Charity Pro-Am is a T19 in 2013. His final-round scoring average is 70.25. A Saturday 66 moves him into T4 position and four back of leader Pampling.
Thornblade Club (host) Front (35) Back (36) Total (71)
R1 34.375 35.679 70.054
R2 33.786 35.089 68.875
R3 34.393 34.964 69.357
Green Valley CC Front (36) Back (36) Total (72)
R1 35.786 35.393 71.179
R2 35.411 34.500 69.911
R3 35.679 34.143 69.821
The Reserve at Lake Keowee Front (36) Back (36) Total (72)
R1 35.018 35.054 70.072
R2 34.411 34.089 68.500
R3 34.464 34.929 69.393
* Next week – The Web.com Tour will be idle next week before moving to North Carolina for the Rex Hospital Open at TPC Wakefield Plantation near Raleigh. Last year, Byron Smith, one of three 54-hole co-leaders, carded a 5-under 66 on the final day and cruised to a four-stroke win for his first career victory on Tour.