Champ still looking for breakthrough win

Cameron Champ, of Sacramento, Calif., hits off the 18th tee during the junior-am on Thursday at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley.

Boys Rankings »

#NameYearStateRating
1Doug Ghim2014IL67.86
2Cameron Young2015NY67.88
3Robin Wang2017FL67.91
4Andy Zhang2016FL68.18
5Brad Dalke2016OK68.19

When Cameron Champ is feeling pressure down the stretch, he doesn’t hide from it.

Champ hopes to harness it.

“If I’m in that position (of being in the hunt with a few holes to go), I have to try and control my adrenaline,” Champ said. “I hit it pretty far so when I have that adrenaline going, I can hit extra long. If I can control that in a positive way, I can play well.”

The California native hopes he’s put in that situation on June 3 when he plays in the 2013 U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying in Newport Beach, Calif.

But if he doesn’t, no big deal.

“I have nothing to lose. For me, you either qualify or you don’t and you can try again next year,” Champ said. “But to make the U.S. Open, for most people that’s a dream come true in itself. It would be a big deal for me if I play well and qualify. It would be one of the greatest experiences of my life if I never turn pro.”

Champ advanced to sectional qualifying after finishing second in the Chico, Calif., local qualifier. The Texas A&M commit shot 2-under 70 thanks to some late-round heroics.

“There was 12 or 13 holes with really bad weather; it was pouring down rain,” Champ said. “I doubled on like the third hole, so I put myself behind the eight ball. But, luckily, on the back nine I came through with some birdies.

“I played well, but I’ve really got to make the putts. That’s what I’ve been working on mostly.”

On the green is where he’s putting in work, but off the tee is where he’s made a name for himself. As Golfweek’s No. 7-ranked junior, Champ is known for his ability to boom it.

“I think he is a great player because he bombs it off the tee and gives himself a lot of opportunities with short irons and wedges,” said Brad Dalke, fellow junior player. “He makes the long, difficult holes a lot easier with his distance.”

Champ has played consistently, earning a top-10 finish in four tournaments this year. But he has yet to win a marquee event.

Dalke says it’s just a matter of time.

“He's a great player. He'll break through at some point and get that win that will just open the floodgates for more wins,” Dalke said. “It's just a matter of him making the putts he needs to on the last round.”

Maybe that win will come June 3 at Newport Beach Country Club.

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