May 19, 2006

Australia’s Pampling roars into Colonial lead

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Australian Rod Pampling posted eight
birdies as he fired a 7-under-par 63 on Friday to vault into
the lead at 10-under after two rounds of the $6 million
Colonial Championship in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Pampling, tied for 15th place after his opening-round 67,
held a one-shot lead over Canadian Stephen Ames, U.S. PGA Tour
rookie Charley Hoffman and first-round leader Stewart Cink.

Tied for fifth, two strokes off the lead was Australian
Peter Lonard and Americans Tim Herron and Dean Wilson.

Another shot back at 7-under-par 133 were Americans Jim
Furyk and Arron Oberholser, Swedes Richard Johnson and Fredrik
Jacobson, and Henrik Bjornstad of Norway.

Pampling started his day on the back nine and began with
three birdies in a row on his way to his best round of the
year, going two strokes lower than the 65 he shot in the second
round at Bay Hill, where he won earlier this season.

"Three in a row is a good start," Pampling, 36, told
reporters. "It just allows you not to be so aggressive on some
of the holes. You can play a little more safer, and sometimes I
played a little bit too safe.

The Australian made up for his only bogey of the day, at
the par-four No. 3, with back-to-back birdies from the fifth.

"I was always in the right side to get a chance to get up
and down," he said. "I didn't make too many mistakes. When we
missed the green we chipped and putted and kept the momentum

Pampling has been going strong of late, finishing tied for
eighth last week at the Byron Nelson.

Ames, an early starter who took advantage of calm
conditions before Colonial's notorious winds began to blow, and
Hoffman both shot 66s, while Cink had his second straight
bogey-free round in posting a 67 for his 131 total.

"The last nine holes we got some wind in here which is nice
to see here at Colonial," said Ames, winner of the Players
Championship this season.

Ames said the wind-free opening round and the lush shape of
the layout known as "Hogan's Alley," combined for low scores.

"The greens are very true, and nice this year. They are
very full. I have never seen them this full. The whole golf
course is that way," Ames said. "It's been fun the last two

Seventy-seven players made the cut, which was set at
one-over-par 141.

Among players missing the cut were Bubba Watson, who
followed his opening-round 65 with a 77, and Germany's Bernhard
Langer, who shot 74-71 for 145.

(Writing by Larry Fine in New York)