Pampling needs Nelson victory to secure Colonial invitation

Posted Monday, May. 13, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Barring the ability to return to the form that saw him climb into the top 50 of the world golf rankings at one point in his career, a streak will end next week for Double Oak’s Rod Pampling that dates to 2002.

He will play this week in the HP Byron Nelson Classic, but a 12th consecutive invitation to Colonial is a long shot at this point.

Pampling, who helped tournament organizers by playing in the Champions Pro-Am on Monday at TPC Las Colinas, would need a win this week to secure a spot.

“Yeah it’s a tough thing, it’s a short year and I’m looking to get an invite,” Pampling said. “I’ve done some events with them to try and push my case but so far, the invite hasn’t come.”

The 13-year veteran said he’s certainly disappointed that his Metroplex swing might come to an end, but it’s not something he can’t fix moving forward or help him rebound to where he once was.

“I’ve had a couple of near misses there, some really great finishes at Colonial,” he said. “It’s not over yet because it’s still possible for a couple of players to naturally work into the field and an invite come available.”

Pampling’s won twice on the PGA Tour, at The International in 2004 and the 2006 Bay Hill Invitational. He’s had a second- and third-place finish at Colonial.

His best finish at the Nelson was a tie for eighth, twice in 2006 and 2011.

But as with all touring professionals, it’s been a challenge to balance work and life.

Pampling’s three kids are settled into the daily school grind and he’s developed a schedule that will allow him to work on the things that have dropped him to No. 263 in the world.

It starts on the greens and with the flat stick.

“My putting has really held me back but I’ve found a little something over the last few weeks and it’s really improved,” he said. “When you start to lose that, then the next thing you start having is swing problems and then everything just feels wrong.”

Ties for 42nd and 43rd in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the Wells Fargo Classic the past few weeks have Pampling upbeat about things.

At 43, he still sees opportunity over the next 10 years of his career.

“Out here it’s just one shot a round that is so crucial and can change your fortunes,” Pampling said. “But I feel like I’m headed in the right direction.”

Pampling is no stranger to success. He’s 92nd on the career money list, earning more than $13.5 million in his career.

His streak of back-to-back starts at the Nelson and Colonial is impressive by today’s standards as some local professionals don’t even play both.

“Not me; I love both these tournaments and these golf courses,” Pampling said. “I still have a passion for this game and as long as you still have that, you still have a chance to compete out here.”

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