Cameron Champ, a long-hitting, twenty-six year old, resident of Houston, Texas, my old hometown, won his third PGA Tour tournament today by shooting a five-under par 66 to win the 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota, at the TPC Twin Cities golf course. Champ won by two strokes with a total of 15-under par 269. Three players finished tied for second: Louis Oosterhuizen, Charl Schwartzel, and Jhonattan Vegas.
Cameron needed only a bogey six on the last hole to win. Rather than play safe on the long par five 18th hole, which is flanked by a big lake that players can hit into easily off the tee, he hooked a driver badly and reached the fairway in three strokes with a long wedge shot over the water. But he hit a great wedge shot that spun backwards to settle about two feet from the hole to give him his par five and the victory.
Cameron’s win was unexpected since he had been having quite a poor performance this year, missing eleven 36-hole cuts and having only one top ten finish. Pro golf seldom works that way. Usually, a player gets to playing well, having some good finishes in perhaps several tournaments, and then breaks through for a win. Yet in sports, you never know. Sometimes the athlete comes out of nowhere to beat everybody.
Not so with Oosterhuizen. The aging sweet-swinger looks like he’s going to win one any day now. It seems like every week the South African is in hunt, either leading towards the end or knocking on the door.
Defending champion Matthew Wolff, a long ball hitter with an odd, baseball-swing, finished 39th. At 21 years of age last year, and just out of college, he had wowed the golf world by eagling the last hole to make it his first win on the PGA Tour in only four starts. He says he has been fighting some depression and has been taking some time off the Tour. We all wish him well.