Cameron Champ played a gritty final round to win the 3M Open, shaking off dizziness caused by dehydration – and an adventurous 18th hole after driving it in the thick rough – to edge a sizeable pack of pursuers by two shots for his third PGA Tour victory.
Champ fashioned a no-bogey, five-birdie 66 over the final 18 and though his power was on full display as it usually is, it was Champ’s putting that provided much of the impetus for the win as he ranked first for the week in strokes gained/putting with his Ping PLD Anser 4 blade putter, picking up more than seven shots on the field.
Champ made a 19-footer for birdie at the first hole and a pair of nine-foot birdie putts to go along with a kick-in at the par-3 fourth after his tee shot stopped just 16 inches from the hole. Then came a beyond-clutch 13-footer at the short par-4 16th to stretch his lead to two shots. The 26-year-old’s putting this week was even more impressive considering he came into the week ranked 206th on tour in strokes gained/putting.
Still, despite ranking 35th in strokes gained/off-the-tee, Champ did unleash a 336-metre bomb at the second and another 336-metre drive that led to an approach of just 83 metres at the 421-metre, par-4 11th that he knocked to nine feet, leading to a crucial birdie. Champ’s driver – his only wood in the bag – is a 10.5-degree Ping G425 LST with a Mitsubishi Tensei AV White 75TX shaft.
Notable in his iron set is that Champ carries two 4-irons, a Ping i500 and a Ping iBlade. Despite having the same number on the bottom of the club, the i500 features a hollow structure with a forged, heat-treated high-strength maraging steel face insert. That combination allows for five times the bending of the face at impact compared to a standard cast iron – a technology first used in the company’s Crossover irons to create distance increases with a higher launch angle. All of Champ’s irons have True Temper’s Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X7 shafts with Golf Pride’s Tour Velvet Align grips.
Although Champ and his sticks took care of business in Minnesota, Champ probably drew on his previous wins at the 2018 Sanderson Farms Championship and 2019 Safeway Open for inspiration. Speaking with Golf Digest in 2019 before his Safeway title, Champ said: “Getting that first win in just my second PGA Tour start was amazing, but it also has served as a motivating factor to get there again… It taught me how to handle adversity under the highest pressure. It’s still a learning process for me.”
Champ handled the adversity of driving it into some real trouble on the 72nd hole well – chopping it out to the fairway then laying up to about 120 metres to escape with par. That was a lesson well learned, to be sure.
The clubs Cameron Champ used to win the 2021 3M Open:
Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV
Driver: Ping G425 LST (Mitsubishi Tensei AV White 75TX shaft), 10.5 degrees
Irons (3-4): Ping i500; (4-PW): Ping iBlade
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi-Toe (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Ping PLD
PHOTO: David Berding