Date: May 25, 2008

Pampling poised to pounce

Australian Rod Pampling has rocketed up the leaderboard on the back of a stunning 63 in the third round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational in Texas. Phil Mickelson leads the field but Pampling heads a group of three players just one shot off the American. Stephen Ames and Tim Clark both fired six-under-par 64 to move to 11-under the card for the tournament, tied with Pampling. The Queenslander had the day&aposs best score, but it could have been even better. He bogeyed the 16th and 17th after threatening the course record with eight birdies in the first 14 holes. Displaying mastery of his irons, he hit a series of precise approach shots, and also made a couple of long birdies for good measure. But his fortunes turned for the worse at the par-three 16th, where his seven-iron trickled over the green, from where he hit a poor chip. He also dropped a shot at the par-four 17th after a wayward drive, but stemmed the flow with a tap-in birdie at the last. “It&aposs nice to be up there with a chance to win,” said Pampling, a two-time PGA Tour winner. Compatriot Geoff Ogilvy (69) is still a slender chance to raise the trophy after he closed the penultimate round seven shots from Mickelson. Mickelson ended the third round of the as he started it, with a one-stroke lead, but it was not all smooth sailing for the world No.2. He made a tardy start with a par at the easy par-five first, followed by a bogey at the par-four second. “It was tough to be patient watching guys shoot four-or-five under on the front nine and take off,” he said. “All of a sudden, I go from leading to being three or four shots back.” “With the (lack of) wind, it played so much easier than the first two days. For the most part, it was a day where you could go low and most guys did.” Mickelson, with 33 PGA Tour victories, might be expected to blow away the competition on the final day, but if he was thinking the same, he was not letting on. “The reality is these guys are great players and playing very well,” said Mickelson. “There is a reason they are on top of the leaderboard because they are playing well this week. For me to come out on top, I have to somehow play better.” Third Round of The Crowne Plaza Invitational (Par 70): -12: Phil Mickelson 65 68 65 -11: Rod Pampling (Australia) 69 67 63, Stephen Ames 68 67 64 -9: Tim Clark 68 69 64 -7: Ben Crane 68 68 67, Kevin Sutherland 67 68 68, Brian Gay 69 65 69 -5: Lucas Glover 70 70 65, Jerry Kelly 68 71 66, Jeff Quinney 71 68 66, Paul Goydos 68 71 66, Briny Baird 68 70 67, Tommy Armour III 71 66 68, Mark Wilson 70 67 68, Corey Pavin 67 69 69, Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 72 64 69, Mark Brooks 67 68 70, Brian Bateman 70 65 70, Vaughn Taylor 67 68 70, Matt Kuchar 70 64 71 Also: -1: Matthew Goggin (Australia) 67 73 69 E: Nathan Green (Australia) 71 68 71 +2: Nick O&aposHern (Australia) 70 72 72, Steve Elkington (Australia) 73 67 72