PGA Tour rookie Cameron Champ is making just his second start on the PGA Tour this season at the Sanderson Farms Championship, but the Texas A&M product is already causing established pros and legends of the game to drop their jaws in disbelief.
The 6’0″, 175-pound Champ pounds the ball of the tee. Of course, that’s not saying much in today’s game, but when you’re hitting the ball — on average — 343 yards, people take notice.
For reference, Champ’s 343-yard average driving distance on the Web.com Tour last year, which obviously set a record, was 24 yards longer than Rory McIlroy, who led the PGA Tour in driving distance last season. Again, for reference, 24 yards shorter than McIlroy was the 100th longest player on Tour.
If McIlroy is a freak, Champ is a mutant.
And the 23-year-old proved on Thursday in Mississippi that he can harness that power to shoot low scores, taking the first-round lead at the Sanderson Farms with a 7-under par 65.
En route to his eight-birdie-one-bogey round, Champ hit six of his seven drives over 300 yards and capped off his day with birdies on the 15th and 18th holes with bombs that both traveled over 335 yards. In fact, Champ was chipping back to the hole on the 15th after driving it over the green.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) October 25, 2018
And at the 505-yard 18th, he had just 102 yards into the green after cutting the corner.
“I feel like, in this day and age, it’s kind of what everyone is drawn to. At this point now, I definitely just try to block it out a little bit,” Champ said, according to PGATour.com. “It’s great you can hit it far, but if other parts of your game aren’t good you’re not going to be able to play the game.”
Early returns have proven that Champ has the other parts of the game needed to succeed at a high level. One thing is for sure, it’ll be fun to see him compete on a weekly basis going forward.