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Carefree Pampling seeks stellar season

AAP logoAAP 4/01/2017 Evin Priest

With the freedom of a two-year exemption on golf's toughest circuit, Aussie veteran Rod Pampling feels he's primed for a huge year on the US PGA Tour.

The 47-year-old will kick off his season at this week's Tournament of Champions in Maui - a 32-man tournament he hasn't been invited to for more than 10 years.

The Queenslander joins fellow Australians Aaron Baddeley, Greg Chalmers and world No.1 Jason Day at Kapalua's Plantation course.

Pampling ended a decade-long winless drought on the US PGA Tour when he claimed the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas in November.

"It gives me tons of freedom. Basically, there's only going to be the pressure of what I put on myself," Pampling said about his first Tour win since 2006.

"It's nice to be in that position again; I'm looking forward to basically the next three years (on Tour) just to see what we can do."

Pampling said he was honoured to be teeing it in the $US6.1 million event featuring no 36-hole cut, alongside golf stars Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama.

Only players who have won a US PGA Tour event in the past 12 months are eligible for the tournament.

"Of course it feels good - a 32-man field and I'm one of only a lucky few who can do it. It's awesome; Maui really is a great place to start the year off," Pampling told AAP.

"Whenever my year has got off to a good starts, they've always been pretty good years."

The three-time US PGA Tour winner said making the finale of the season-long FedEx Cup points race - and a chance at winning its $US10 million bonus - was his goal for 2017.

"I'd love to finish top-30 in the FedEx Cup. If you do that, you've had a pretty good year," said Pampling.

"Obviously you want to win, but I get how hard it is to do that."

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