SNOQUALMIE — Moments after the Boeing Classic ended, a Boeing 777 did a flyover at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge.
It was about the only thing Sunday afternoon at the golf course that went as predicted.
Rod Pampling, ending his day about an hour before the final group, wasn’t exactly happy with his final three holes, bogeying the 16th hole and making just a par on the par-5 18th hole, one of the easiest holes on the course to make a birdie.
It was a good round for the Australian — a 66 that tied for the best round of the day — but at 12-under 204 overall, Pampling was just hoping it might be good enough to get into a playoff with several players having a good chance to catch or pass him.
But one contender after another made mistakes, and when neither Jim Furyk nor Woody Austin, playing in the final group, were able to make a birdie on the 18th hole, Pampling was the winner — no playoff needed.
“Not much,” Pampling said when asked what the odds of him winning outright were when he finished his round. “But as my caddie kept saying, ‘You know
what? There’s no reason that they can’t make a bogey coming in. He said just hang tough, and we did, and hey, it worked out. We got a little bit lucky at the end, but sometimes that’s what you need.”
It was the first victory on PGA Tour Champions for Pampling, 51, who is in his rookie season on the 50-and-older tour (2020 and 2021 are being lumped together in one season).
Pampling won three times on the PGA Tour, the last time in 2017 when he edged Brooks Koepka in the Shriners Hospitals for Children’s Open.
“It doesn’t matter when you win, it’s phenomenal,” said Pampling, who earned $315,000. “Obviously a new chapter on the Champions Tour, so it’s nice to get one.”
The story of the tournament was as much about the players who missed opportunities as it was the player holding the trophy at the end.
Tim Herron needed a birdie on the 18th to tie Pampling. He made a par.
Billy Mayfair needed an eagle on the 18th hole. He made a birdie.
Austin needed a birdie on the 18th He made a bogey — the victim of a bad lie in a greenside bunker on his second shot.
Furyk, who was tied with Pampling at 12 under when Pampling’s round was over, missed an 8-foot par putt on the 17th hole to fall one behind.
So, Furyk too, needed a birdie on the 18th. But he too made a par after hitting his second shot into a greenside bunker and blasting out to about 25 feet below the pin.
Furyk’s putt to tie looked good for a long time but curled away in the final inches.
“It was a good putt, but I didn’t hit it hard enough,” Furyk said. “If I hit that ball where it goes a foot by the hole, I knock it in.”
Furyk appeared to be the most likely winner most of the day. When Pampling finished, Furyk had about an 8-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole and two relatively easy par-5s (the 15th and the 18th) left to play.
But Furyk missed the putt on the 14th, and it didn’t get any better from there. After making birdies on the first five holes, he did not make another one the rest of his round.
What Furyk will rue the most is making pars on the par-5 15th and 18th.
“I make two birdies from perfect drives, which I should have, (and) I win the golf tournament,” he said.
Pampling began the day four shots off the lead, but got into quick contention with an eagle on the first hole and a birdie on the second. He made birdies on 11, 12 and 14 to get to 13 under and take a one-shot lead.
Like many of the others, Pampling didn’t have the finish he was hoping for. But in the end, it was good enough.