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Champ sinks demanding 18 to 3rd PGA Tour victory

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Cameron Champ poses with the trophy after earning $1.2 million for winning the 3M Open at the Twin Cities course in Blaine, Minnesota. AFP

Champ sinks demanding 18 to 3rd PGA Tour victory

Cameron Champ sank a tap-in par putt on the treacherous par-five 18th hole Sunday at the 3M Open for a five-under 66 and his third career victory on the PGA Tour.

The 26-year-old American had to overcome a bout of dehydration on the back nine and a wobble off the tee at the par-five closing hole to top the leaderboard at the Twin Cities golf course with a 15-under 269.

Champ clinched the two stroke victory with a dazzling approach shot on 18 that sailed over the pin then spun backwards. But Champ didn’t get there without a moment of frustration after his drive on 18 sailed way left and landed in the tallest grass on the course.

“I made it a little interesting,” said Champ. “I made a great approach to save par.”

Louis Oosthuizen shot a 66 and tied for second with fellow South African Charl Schwartzel (68) and Jhonattan Vegas (68).

American Keith Mitchell finished in solo fifth at 12 under and Canada’s Adam Hadwin (68), the second round co-leader, highlighted a group of five golfers tied for sixth at 11 under, four shots adrift of Champ.

For the fourth straight day the finishing hole at Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota proved to be back breaker with its mini-lake at the front that swallowed 124 golf balls.

Bout of dehydration

Number 18 is ranked the most difficult par five on the PGA Tour for a reason as Champ found out this week.

His tee shot landed in the deep grass forcing him to have to punch out to get back on the fairway. He would go on to nail his 127 yard approach shot to just two feet setting up an easy putt for the victory.

Champ, who earned $1.2 million for the win, also had to overcome a bout of dehydration on the back nine, taking a break between the 15th and 16th holes to clear his head.

“I got dehydrated,” he said. “My body started getting light headed.”

Champ hopes this win means he has turned the corner after a string of disappointing results this season including missing 11 cuts. This is just his second top 10 finish this year.

“Everybody peaks and develops at different times and I have always been a late bloomer,” he said.

Oosthuizen, of Mossel Bay, had a strong finishing kick in the fourth round, rolling in birdies on three of his final four holes in his tournament debut.

He began his round with a birdie, followed by a bogey then sank two more birdies on his front nine.

The red-hot Oosthuizen was seeking his first win on US soil after posting four top-10s in his past six starts.

The 3M featured a watered down field as it was being played alongside the men’s golf tournament at the Tokyo Olympics.


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