His first career PGA Tour victory in reach, England's Greg Owen fell apart on the greens on the 17th hole and then had a putt lip out on No. 18, to give the Australia's Rod Pampling the victory at the Bay Hill Invitational in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday.
Just 40 inches from the hole to make par, with a two-shot lead on the 17th, Owen pushed the short putt past the hole, then quickly went to putt again, missing the second attempt, as well before putting in for a double bogey. A 12-foot putt on 18, that would have sent the tournament into a playoff, then went in and out for Owen.
Pampling shot a final-round 72 to earn his second career PGA Tour victory, as well as the winner's check of $990,000. Here is what Pampling and Owen had to say following their final round on Sunday.
Question: Kind of a wild finish there, but just I'll let you talk about the day and how it unfolded and how it finished on a positive note.
ROD PAMPLING: Yeah, the day was going great. All I was trying to do out there was not make any mistakes. If you had a chance for birdie, you go for it. Pretty much hopefully make someone chase me. Obviously I hit that one out of bounds, which I didn't even think it was out of bounds there, that's how wide it was.
We regrouped straight after that, and then obviously Greg made that putt on 14, the par 3, and then it was like back in chase mode, which I think got my head obviously back into aggressive mode because you can make birdie straightaway.
Yeah, I didn't birdie 16, which is slightly disappointing.And then obviously on 17, I figured my chances were just about done once I had missed that putt. So I was sitting back before Greg had putted and just telling myself that I had to make birdie on the last.
That was what I needed to do. And then as we all saw, I don't know what to say, just whatever happened to Greg there, just gave me that boost of confidence when I got on the last. I just got up, hit a really nice tee shot and just hit it in the center of the green, and thankfully two putts was good enough.
Q. Were you even watching on 17 or were you walking to the 18th green?
ROD PAMPLING: I started to walk. When he missed that first putt, then I just figured, oh, well, I'm still one behind. And then I caught it on my eye as it came back out, and yeah, that was obviously it was a shock. You never want to see anyone do that.
But, yeah, it just gave me the confidence on 18. And instead of having to make birdie, I could just put a nice, solid tee shot and put the pressure on Greg again to come up with the goods.
Q. How much sympathy did you feel for what happened to Greg there?
ROD PAMPLING: You just hate to see anything like that happen. First, you don't want to win a tournament like that, but you just hate to see that happen to anyone. It's such a cruel game, but the thing is, it's happened to us. There's not one guy who that hasn't happened to. Thankfully it didn't happen to me. Yeah, as I said, it's cruel, but, you know, that's golf.
Q. He threw four birdies at you the first 10 holes, and you've still got a two shot lead until 13. And then the way you played 18, do you look at that stretch and tell yourself that you deserve this, you earned this?
ROD PAMPLING: You know what, I played nice, solid golf. It will always be looked at as the one that Greg kind of three-putted, but I know I played great all week.
Yeah, I definitely deserve it. I didn't back down. I kept fighting all the way, and as soon as obviously it was a bad shot on the par 4 that went out of bounds. But to get up and hit one straight down the middle after that and just get back on the saddle; yeah, I definitely deserve the trophy.
Q. You admitted last night that today was going to be a big day in your career. Now that you've won under these circumstances, do you see this as a huge building block or can we not read too much into it?
ROD PAMPLING: Oh, definitely, as I mentioned yesterday, my Sunday's weren't that great. That was something, I had a lot of top-10s last year, and it was something that we had to address is why my Sundays weren't that great.
And even San Diego this year, it wasn't a great Sunday, but I wasn't hitting it, so I didn't get down on that. I just kept working on what I've been working on. I think definitely now knowing that having the lead and playing as well as I did all day, it's definitely going to be a boost of confidence knowing that I can play on a Sunday and win a golf tournament.
Question: I know it's a difficult way to finish a good week for you, but if you would, just talk a little about your day today and then towards the end of the day.
GREG OWEN: Well, I couldn't play better than that. I played really well.
I did real great until 17. I hit a good shot on 17, and, I don't know, just lack of concentration and throw away a tournament.
Q: Talk about the tee shot first at 17.
GREG OWEN: I hit a great shot. I hit it right on line, just I need another inch and it's next to the hole; little breaks. I should still be making three, but I hit a great shot, and, you know, you can accept missing the first putt, but just to throw away a shot like that after the hard work you've done all week is just stupid. That's what I've done.
Q: Was it a question of just getting up there to quick for that second one?
GREG OWEN: I have no idea. I can't even remember.
Q. How do you deal with that?
GREG OWEN: I don't know. I'll find out tonight, but it's not going to be easy. You know, you don't get many chances to win on the PGA Tour and on a great golf course like this. I had it in my pocket. It was there and I threw it away. So we'll find out. Play again next week and see what happens there.
Q. You came back with a really good putt on 18?
GREG OWEN: I can't believe that missed. One of them things where it just kicks you in the teeth. I hit the best putt of the day there, and you see it going in and the next thing you turnaround and you come out and it's like, how is it done. It's just one of them things where you say, well, it wasn't meant to be.
Transcripts provided by ASAP Sports.
March 20, 2006
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