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Sac’s Champ secures emotional win at Safeway Open in Napa

BY HELEN LAME´

Sacramento’s Cameron Champ scored an emotional victory at the Safeway Open in Napa Sunday evening, sinking a 3-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to hold off a late charge by Canada’s Adam Hadwin for his second PGA tour victory by firing a 17-under 271 for the tournament.

Champ, who entered the day with a three stroke lead over Hadwin, Nick Taylor and Sebastián Muñoz, delivered a near perfect performance over the course of four days at Silverado Resort, shooting rounds of 67-68-67-69 to capture the tournament’s $ 1.1 million winner’s share. His triumph came as he demonstrated incredible focus while carrying a heavy heart as his grandfather, who introduced him to golf as a child, is battling Stage 4 stomach cancer and is in hospice at their family home just over an hour away.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER Cameron Champ tees off on the way to firing a 17-under par 271 to win the Safeway Open at Silverado Ranch in Napa. The 24-year old Sacramento native finished with a 3-under 69 Sunday to capture the tournament’s $ 1.1 million winners share.

 

After raising his arms in victory and exchanging heartfelt embraces with both his caddie and his father, a tearful Champ, 24, was handed a telephone to speak with his ill grandfather while still on the green. After composing himself, he stated, “To win here will probably go down as, whether I win one more tournament, ten more tournaments, whatever it might be, this will be the greatest moment in my golfing career for sure. That putt (on the 18th hole), was the first time I really didn’t feel that nervous. It was kind of a relief when it went in.”

Hadwin, a 31-year old University of Louisville graduate, mounted a furious push by birdying the final three holes Sunday, shooting back-to-back rounds of 67 over the weekend to put added pressure on Champ before he could post his second career win.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Adam Hadwin competes at the 2019 Safeway Open at Silverado Ranch in Napa. The 31-year old Canadian mounted a serious charge over the weekend by shooting back-to-back rounds of 67 to finish in second place after finishing the tournament with three consecutive birdies.

 

Australian Marc Leishman who shot a 7-under par 65 on Sunday, finished in third place three strokes back. Americans Charles Howell III, Justin Thomas and Zac Blair all tied for fourth at 13-under.

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