Alumni Report: The golf world has discovered Cameron Champ
Ever wonder what happens to top amateurs after they pass through the web pages of AmateurGolf.com? Welcome to our new series, the Alumni Report. Each week, we’ll profile a former AmateurGolf.com member now navigating the pro waters, providing a progress report and a snapshot of his or her amateur career.
Cameron Champ (Texas A&M Athletics)
For amateur golf junkies, watching Cameron Champ
bomb it on TV – all the way to the top of a PGA Tour leaderboard – still feels a little foreign. Champ doesn’t seem very far removed from junior golf, college golf and amateur golf, and that's probably because he isn’t.
Just over a year has passed since Champ, 23, declared his professional status, opting to forego the final half of his senior year at Texas A&M to begin his golf career. He made his Tour debut as a professional in early November 2017 at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba on a sponsor exemption. He missed the cut after rounds of 75-73.
Champ only made one PGA Tour cut in the 2018 season, finishing T-73 at the Valero Texas Open, but made 21 starts on the Web.com tour and won the Utah Championship in July.
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The 2019 season looks entirely different so far. Champ has teed it up in five of the last seven Tour events (essentially, every domestic event) and won the Sanderson Farms Championship. He has finished inside the top 10 three times and inside the top 30 every time. Most recently, Champ contended at the RSM Classic over the weekend before finishing an eventual sixth at 16 under.
Champ leads the Tour in driving distance with a seemingly effortless motion that produces a lethal amount of power that Tour writers and color commentators have spent the better part of the fall swing fawning over. Champ, a student of Sean Foley, has a putter to back up his long game, too.
Yes, the Champ secret is out.
As an amateur, the Sacramento, Calif., native maintained a busy competition schedule. Champ was a staple in California-based amateur events. He was 11 the first time he played in the Memorial Amateur
, a Carmichael, Calif.-based event, and was 19 when he won the event in 2014. That was the summer before he started on the Texas A&M roster. Injury plagued his freshman season.
Champ won only once as an Aggie at the 2016 Olympia Fields Fighting Illini Invitational. But a victory followed at the Patriot All-America later that fall. In the months leading up to his decision to turn professional, Champ was a man on fire. He qualified for the U.S. Open and made the cut, medaled at the North & South Amateur, won the Trans-Miss Championship, was runner-up at the Pacific Coast Amateur and made the semifinals at the Western Amateur.
Champ also was selected to represent the U.S. at the 2017 Walker Cup matches in Los Angeles, and went 1-2-1 as the U.S. won the Cup.
It was his T-32 finish at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, though, that pushed him toward the Tour.
“Before the U.S. Open, I wasn’t even thinking about it,” Champ told Golf Digest
last summer. “But when I made the cut at Erin Hills, that changed the whole game plan.”