He now heads into the final round just two strokes behind leaders Steve Stricker and Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Pampling is tied sixth along with David Toms (68), Bernhard Langer (65), Glen Day (64) and Woody Austin (65).

They are one behind Fred Couples, Darren Clarke and Kevin Sutherland.

Stricker is the only player at Minehaha Country Club who is set to play next week in the US Open at Winged Foot. He birdied the par-5 16th and par-4 18th for a six under 64 to post a two-round total at nine under 131.

"I like my spot and I'm going to have to go out tomorrow and put up another good round," Stricker said. "That's my focus anyway, to get out there and make birdies and try not to make any mistakes."

RIGHT: Rod Pampling nails his approach on the 18th hole. PHOTO: Getty Images.

The US Ryder Cup captain won the inaugural event in 2018, then skipped his title defence last year.

"I feel like I'm the defending champion," Stricker said. "I haven't been here for two years, but I enjoy the layout.

"You've got to put it in the proper spot. If you don't hit it in the fairway, sometimes hitting it on these small undulating greens is tough, as you saw a couple short holes for me today that you end up scrambling."

Jimenez, the Spanish star who tied for the lead with Toms and Dicky Pride after the rainy first round, birdied the par-4 15th as well as 16 and 18 in his 66.

Clarke birdied the last four in his 62, while Couples and Sutherland matched Stricker with 64s.

"What a day!" Clarke said. "I played so badly yesterday. I played so poorly, hit the ball awful yesterday, went back and watched a bit of YouTube and watched a bit of Instagram and found a little tip from somebody and came out and hit some balls this morning and thought, 'Well, that felt pretty good."'

Sutherland birdied his last three holes, playing alongside Couples.

"It's going to take something in the mid-60s, I think," Sutherland said. "It's just so packed together. There are guys that are in 15th place that are only like two or three back. It's going to take a really low one."

Couples holed out from 97 yards for eagle on the par-4 9th holen.

"I drove it in the rough, which was a great lie, and I had 97 yards," Couples said. "I just cut a little 54 and I couldn't see the hole, but I didn't see it bounce. It was a real quick yell that it went in. You don't do that very often."

John Daly, two days after revealing he's being treated for bladder cancer, moved to six under after a 66 and is just three from the lead.