From first to finished.
Rodney Pampling's fortunes in the British Open on Friday turned quicker than the gusts at Carnoustie.
The former Australian greenskeeper startled the British Open by taking the first-round lead with a par 71. He proceeded to shoot a second round of 15-over 86, making him the first player to lead and then miss the cut in the Open.
"If your game's not on this course, you're going to pay the price," Pampling said. "My game wasn't on today, and I paid the price big time."
Pampling, credited his wife Angela, a psychologist, for his confidence in the first round, when he had 11 pars and an eagle.
On Friday in almost identical conditions, he had 10 bogeys, one double bogey and a triple bogey on the disastrous ninth hole. His wife hugged him as he came off the 18th.
"I got off to a slow start and you can't really pick it up out here too much," Pampling said, little known even in Australia, where he lives in the Sunshine Coast town of Caboolture.
"It just kept compounding. A few bad holes, a very bad one on nine and a couple of more holes and you have an 86. A few bad lies, a few bad shots and you have a big score."
Pampling came completely undone at the par-4 No. 9, where he pushed his second shot with a 5-iron right into a drainage ditch. The Australian took a hack at it and pushed the ball a few yards further into some "tough grass that was unbelievable." He took two more swings to free himself from the bramble and then two-putted.
The conditions both days were about the same, perhaps a bit easier Friday with the air beginning to stir only after he had played a half-dozen holes. He couldn't exactly put his finger on what went wrong.
"Little things, big things, bad bounces," he said. But he was sure the pressure of being an obscure first-round leader didn't get to him.
"I didn't feel worried about that," he said.
The previous worst performance by a first-round leader in the British Open was in 1922 by Ted Ray. He opened with a 73 followed by 83, 85, 80 to finish tied for 47th place.
"Sure, I can always look back on it that I was leading," Pampling said. "But I'll also have that second round too, won't I."
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