PGA Tour

PGA rookie Champ lives up to name with 4-stroke win

2018-10-29 06:44
Cameron Champ
Cameron Champ (AP)

Los Angeles - American rookie Cameron Champ captured his first PGA Tour title on Sunday, making birdies on five of the last six holes to win the Sanderson Farms Championship by four strokes. 

The 23-year-old Californian, in only his ninth tour start, took a wire-to-wire victory with a final-round four-under par 68 to finish 72 holes at the Country Club of Jackson in Mississippi on 21-under 267. 

"It just means everything, all the hard work over the years, all the sacrifices my family made for me to have this opportunity. Now to be a PGA Tour winner is just unreal." 

Champ outlasted Canada's Corey Conners, who got married last weekend and nearly won his first PGA title but settled for his best tour result, shooting 68 to finish on 271. 

Champ concluded a run of four birdies in a row by rolling in a curving putt from 38 feet on a shadow-filled 16th green to seize a two-stroke advantage. 

At the par-4 17th, Champ was short of the green and rolled his third shot 15 feet past the cup before sinking a tricky downhill par putt, keeping his margin after Conners left a 17-foot birdie putt just short. 

Conners closed with a bogey while Champ sank a seven-foot birdie putt to end it, then hugged his father Jeff and yelled over a cell phone to his grandfather, who introduced him to golf. 

"Grandpa, we did it for you," Champ said. 

Champ began with a four-stroke lead when the day began and tapped in for birdie at the par-5 third, but took back-to-back bogeys at the par-3 seventh after missing the green and the par-4 eighth after finding water off the tee. 

"Today was a new experience for me," Champ said. "The front side was a little bit of nerves. The back side I put it all together and brought it home." 

Conners birdied the par-4 second from 11 feet and the par-5 third from six feet to tighten the gap, then concluded the front nine with a 13-foot birdie putt to grab a share of the lead as the back nine began. 

Both birdied the par-3 13th but Champ followed by sinking a 19-foot birdie at the par-5 14th while Conners blasted out of a bunker and missed an 18-foot birdie putt. 

Each then birdied the par-4 15th to leave Champ ahead by one as the tension mounted.

Leading scores after Sunday's final round of the PGA Tour at Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi (USA unless noted, par 72):

267 - Cameron Champ 65-70-64-68

271 - Corey Conners (CAN) 71-68-64-68

273 - Carlos Ortiz (MEX) 69-69-71-64, Sam Burns 69-70-66-68

274 - Roberto Castro 71-71-67-65, Anders Albertson 71-70-67-66

275 - Adam Schenk 70-68-70-67, Seth Reeves 67-70-70-68, Denny McCarthy 71-68-69-67, Dylan Meyer 71-67-68-69, Shawn Stefani 68-68-68-71, Martin Laird (SCO) 72-67-66-70, D.J. Trahan 67-70-67-71

276 - Stephan Jaeger (GER) 72-70-67-67, Patrick Rodgers 70-69-70-67, Talor Gooch 71-68-68-69, Bill Haas 70-70-67-69, Lucas Glover 68-72-67-69

277 - Seamus Power (IRL) 71-68-70-68

278 - Ryan Blaum 73-67-71-67, Robert Garrigus 68-71-71-68, Nate Lashley 69-70-70-69, Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 67-73-69-69, Matt Every 68-71-68-71

279 - Tom Lovelady 71-71-68-69

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