Saturday's golf: Cameron Champ keeps focus, takes lead at Safeway Open
Napa, Calif. — Even as he bolted to the top of the leaderboard at the Safeway Open, Cameron Champ’s mind was elsewhere.
Champ’s grandfather, Mack, is in hospice battling stomach cancer and the family has been commuting back and forth between the tournament and his hometown of Sacramento, about 65 miles northeast of Silverado Resort.
“It’s been a pretty emotional week,” Champ said Saturday after shooting a bogey-free 5-under 67 in windy conditions to take a three-shot lead into the final round. “He just made me realize there’s a lot more to life than golf. His thing is he likes to say ‘focus’ a lot. Me and my dad always laugh about it, like, ‘OK Pops.’”
Champ has certainly looked focused this week. He opened with a 67 on Thursday, had two bogeys and a six birdies for a 68 on Friday, then moved into the lead with steady iron play and strong putting. Champ narrowly missed a sixth birdie on No. 17 after nearly driving the green. He had a 14-under 202 total despite playing the four par 5s without a birdie.
“I’m certainly happy with the position I’m in,” Champ said. “I know if I can get in the fairways on those (par 5s) and kind of do what I did today, it will be a good day.”
Champ didn’t make the trip to visit his grandfather following Friday night’s round and was uncertain of his plans after taking the lead.
Closing out Sunday with his second PGA Tour victory would provide Champ and his family a much-needed lift.
“It would be mind-blowing, honestly,” Champ said. “I’m going to continue doing what I’m doing. Whether I shoot 80 tomorrow or whether I shoot 65, I really don’t care. I’m just going to focus on putting my best round together, and whatever that’s going to be tomorrow, it’s going to be.”
Sebastian Muñoz (67), Adam Hadwin (67) and Nick Taylor (70) were 11 under, and Chez Reavie (69), Collin Morikawa (70), Justin Thomas (71) and Nick Watney (72) followed at 10 under.
Brian Stuard (Oakland/Jackson) shot a third straight 70 and is tied for 30th at 6 under.
Muñoz, the Sanderson Farms Championship winner last week in Mississippi, got back into the mix with six birdies. That followed an uneven second round when the 26-year-old Colombian had a double bogey and an eagle.
“I’m just playing a little more fun, a little more loose and having fun,” Muñoz said.
Second-round leader Bryson DeChambeau was 8 under after a 76. DeChambeau bogeyed Nos. 3 and 10, double-bogeyed No. 13 then ran into big trouble after hitting his second shot on No. 18 over the grandstands around the green and into a patch of reeds.
Following a lengthy discussion with course officials and a delay of at least 20 minutes, DeChambeau took a drop and flopped a shot back over the grandstands onto the green 10 feet from the pin. He two-putted for par.
In Indianapolis, Mi Jung Hur kept her two-stroke lead in the Indy Women in Tech Championship, birdieing five of the final eight holes for a 6-under 66.
Hur rebounded from an opening bogey with a birdie on the par-5 second. She added birdies on Nos. 9, 11, 13, 14, 16 and18 to get to 17 under at Brickyard Crossing, the layout that features four holes inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
The South Korean player won the Ladies Scottish Open last month for her third LPGA Tour victory.
Marina Alex, coming off the United States’ Solheim Cup loss to Europe, was second after a 64.
Puerto Rico’s Maria Torres had a 66 to get to 13 under.
In Pebble Beach, California, Steve Flesch shot a 4-under 67 at Poppy Hills to take the second-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions’ Pure Insurance Championship.
After opening with a 68 at Pebble Beach, Flesch had five birdies and a bogey at Poppy Hills to reach 8 under in the event that pairs a PGA Tour Champions player with a junior from The First Tee programs around the country.
The 52-year-old Flesch won the Mitsubishi Electric Classic last year for his first senior title after winning four times on the PGA Tour.
Billy Andrade and Kent Jones were tied for second, two strokes back. Andrade had a 67, and Jones shot 69, both at Poppy Hills. The final round will be played at Pebble Beach.
Marco Dawson sits at 5 under and Lake Orion's Tom Gillis at 4 under after shooting a 71 and 70, respectively, at Pebble Beach.
Charles Schwab Cup leader Scott McCarron was 1 under after a 73 at Pebble Beach.
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship had two more surprise leaders, with Victor Perez and Matthew Southgate out in front on 20 under par after the third round in St. Andrews, Scotland.
Perez shot an 8-under 64 at Kingsbarns while Southgate returned a 7-under 65 at St. Andrews, leaving them two shots clear of Paul Waring after his 7-under 65 at Carnoustie.
None of those players are in the top 100 of the world rankings, with Southgate as low as No. 300.
Every golfer has now played 18 holes at the three Scottish courses. The 60 players to make the cut will return to the Old Course for the final round of the pro-am event Sunday.
American golfer Tony Finau, one of the highest-ranked players in the field at No. 14, shot 66 at the Old Course and was tied for fourth on 17 under.