Rod Pampling takes the lead at the Principal Charity Classic

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

Pampling carded nine birdies against two bogeys and is now at 14-under 130 through 36 holes. He climbed four places in the rankings to join South Africa’s Ernie Els in the top spot. Els posted a 4-under 68 on Saturday after entering the second round with a two-shot lead.

“You hit a little bit better today, so that was happy, it made me happier,” Pampling said. “Making good putts, making the putts we’re supposed to be making and just not making too many crap, which unfortunately there’s been a little too much of in the last month.”

With just one shot separating him and Els from Germany’s Bernhard Langer and Canada’s Stephen Ames, Pampling plans to carry Saturday’s game plan into the final round at the 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 hit some putts,” Pampling said. “The greens have been rolling nicely for I don’t know how many months, but they’re rolling nicely there. And I can see them well, which obviously helps.

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

Langer had the low round Saturday with a 9-under 63, a performance that was highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 eighth. He also had nine birdies, including three in a row at No. 16-18 to end his round.

“It always feels good to play well, especially if you get off your threes,” the 66-year-old Langer said. “I’ve had a few good starts in the last few rounds I’ve played and then a lot of times I don’t finish well because I don’t know if the leg swells up so bad, my hip gets tight and my back feels stiff as the day goes on .

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

Ames finished with a 67, thanks in large part to a string of four straight birdies, an impressive run that began at 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 Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez, who finished with a 70, sits in sole possession of 10th.