Emotional Cameron Champ wins Safeway Open; former BYU golfer Zac Blair ties for fourth place
Cameron Champ follows his shot from the second tee of the Silverado Resort North Course during the final round of the Safeway Open PGA golf tournament Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Napa, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Napa, Calif. • Cameron Champ made a 3-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a one-stroke victory over Adam Hadwin on Sunday in the Safeway Open, finishing off an emotional week with his grandfather battling cancer.
Three strokes ahead entering the round, Champ had five birdies and overcame a bogey on No. 17 to hold off Hadwin for his second PGA Tour victory. Champ closed with a 3-under 69 to finish at 17-under 271 at Silverado Resort.
Champ raised both arms then shared a long embrace with his caddie before breaking into tears as he hugged his father on the green. Champ’s grandfather, Mack, is fighting stomach cancer and is in hospice in Sacramento. Mack introduced Champ to golf at a young age.
Hadwin birdied the final three holes for a 67 to tie Champ at 16 under, then watched from nearby as Champ nearly chipped in for eagle on the par-5 18th before making the short birdie putt.
Marc Leishman (65) was third at 14 under. Justin Thomas (69), Charles Howell III (68) and Zac Blair (68) were 13 under.
Former BYU golfer Blair’s tie for fourth place is his second-highest career finish in a PGA Tour event. Blair is tied for 23rd in the FedEx Cup standings after three events of the 2019-20 schedule, having missed the cut in each of the first two tournaments. Blair returned to the tour this month, advancing from the Korn Ferry Tour.
Champ missed every fairway on the front nine but made several big second shots to stay in front. None was more impressive than after he drove into the far left rough on the par-5 fifth, pitched up and over a tall tree and onto the green 17 feet away and two-putted for birdie.
Champ bogeyed No. 8, but rebounded with a birdie on No. 9. He had a short chip-in for par on No. 11 after chunking his approach shot.
Champ won the 2018 Utah Championship in Farmington on the Korn Ferry Tour, sending him to the PGA Tour. His only other PGA Tour victory came last October in Mississippi at the Sanderson Farms Championship. He hadn’t finished higher than sixth since, missing the cut 12 times.
LPGA Tour • In Indianapolis, Mi Jung Hur played bogey-free with the lead Sunday and never gave anyone a chance, closing with a 4-under 68 for a four-shot victory at the Indy Women in Tech Championship for her second LPGA Tour victory this year. The 29-year-old South Korean had 26 birdies for the week at Brickyard Crossing. Nanna Koerstz Madsen birdied her last two holes for a 67 to finish alone in second. Marina Alex finished third.
PGA Tour Champions • In Pebble Beach, Calif., Kirk Triplett won the Pure Insurance Championship, beating Billy Andrade with an 8-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff. Playing four groups ahead of Andrade, Triplett birdied the 18th in regulation for a 5-under 67 and 9-under 206 total. Andrade also closed with a birdie, holing a 7-footer.