Instead of protecting his three-shot lead, Cameron Champ immediately built on it in the final round of the Safeway Open. He made three birdies on his first six holes, setting himself up for an easy victory stroll the rest of the way at Silverado Country Club. Fast forward just a few hours later and he found himself tied for the lead standing in the 72nd fairway. Nobody said winning on the PGA Tour was easy.

But that’s how Champ made it look last October at the Sanderson Farms, and he was making it look easy again through three rounds in Napa. It got much harder, however, as he came down the stretch, as Adam Hadwin birdied the final three holes to tie him for the lead at 16-under, forcing Champ to have to birdie the 72nd hole to win. With all the pressure building, Champ laced a 337-metre drive down the middle, then came up just short of the green from 190 metres with an 8-iron. His chip to three feet set up the winning putt, giving him the second win of his young career.

After the putt dropped, Champ raised both hands in the air as tears began to flow. The win was dedicated to his grandfather Mack, who has stage-4 cancer.

“It’s been tough, but battled through with the family,” Champ said. “My girlfriend flew in last night, it’s just been a blessing. I don’t know if it’s meant to be or what not, but to win here will probably go down as – no matter if I win one more tournament, 10 more tournaments, whatever it may be, this will be the greatest moment in my golfing career for sure.”

On Champ’s spikes on Sunday were the words “PaPa Champ”. It was his grandfather who taught him the game in nearby Sacramento, where Champ grew up.

“It just means everything. Like I said, I have so much support here, so many family members and friends. The week was just going, I wasn’t thinking much. My mind was clear, going through this experience has just opened my mind up to a lot of things.”

Marc Leishman snared outright third spot at 14-under thanks to a closing 65.

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