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Rod Pampling rises to the lead at Principal Charity Classic

Australian Rod Pampling fired a 7-under 65 on Saturday to grab a share of the lead after two rounds of action at the Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa.

Pampling scored nine birdies against two bogeys and is now at 14-under 130 through 36 holes. He moved up four places in the rankings, joining South Africa’s Ernie Els in first place. Els posted a 4-under 68 on Saturday after entering the second round with a two-shot lead.

“I hit a little bit better today, so that was happy and made me happier,” Pampling said. “Making good putts, making the putts we need to make and just not doing too much crazy stuff, which unfortunately has happened a little too much in the last month.”

With just one stroke separating him from Els of German Bernhard Langer and Canadian Stephen Ames, Pampling plans to take Saturday’s match plan into the final round at Wakonda Club.

“If the pin allows you to be aggressive, be aggressive. If not, play for the middle of the green and see if you can knock in a few putts,” Pampling said. “The greens are rolling beautifully, because I don’t know how many months they last, but they’re rolling nicely there. And I can see them well, which obviously helps.

“Yes, no change of strategy, just if it’s there, go for it.”

Langer had Saturday’s low round with a 9-under 63, a performance highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 eighth. He also had nine birdies, including three in a row at Nos. 16-18, to end his round.

“It always feels good to play well, especially when you break your age by three,” said the 66-year-old Langer. “I had a good start in the last few rounds I played and then often didn’t finish well because I don’t know if the leg swells that much, my hip gets tighter and my back feels stiff as the day goes on.

“So it was nice to finish today with three birdies.”

Ames finished with a 67, thanks in large part to a string of four straight birdies, an impressive run that began on the par-4 sixth.

David Duval (65 on Saturday), Kevin Sutherland (66) and Fiji’s Vijay Singh (68) are tied for fifth, two shots back.

Chad Campbell (67) and Heath Slocum (68) are T8, and Argentinian Ricardo Gonzalez, who finished with a 70, is alone in 10th.