Cameron Champ beats Canada's Adam Hadwin by 1 stroke to win Safeway Open
Emotional win as Champ's grandfather is in hospice battling cancer
Cameron Champ made a 3-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a one-stroke victory over Adam Hadwin on Sunday in the Safeway Open in Napa, Calif., finishing off an emotional week with his grandfather battling cancer.
Three strokes ahead entering the round, Champ had five birdies and overcame a bogey on No. 17 to hold off Hadwin for his second PGA Tour victory. Champ closed with a 3-under 69 to finish at 17-under 271 at Silverado Resort.
Champ raised both arms then shared a long embrace with his caddie before breaking into tears as he hugged his father on the green. Champ's grandfather, Mack, is fighting stomach cancer and is in hospice in Sacramento. Mack introduced Champ to golf at a young age.
The 24-year-old said he felt a strange sense of calm as he stood over the putt for victory.
"That putt, it was the first time I didn't really feel that nervous," a tearful Champ said after hugging his father and briefly speaking to his grandfather by phone on the 18th green.
"I don't know if it's meant to be or whatnot, but to win here, no matter whether I win one more tournament, 10 more tournaments, this will be the greatest moment of my golfing career for sure.
"It means everything. Going through this experience has opened my mind up to a lot of things."
Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., birdied the final three holes for a 67 to tie Champ at 16 under, then watched from nearby as Champ nearly chipped in for eagle on the par-5 18th before making the short birdie putt.
Marc Leishman (65) was third at 14 under. Justin Thomas (69), Charles Howell III (68) and Zac Blair (68) were 13 under.
Nick Taylor (72), who is also from Abbotsford, B.C., finished in a tie for tenth place at 11 under. Corey Conners (65) of Listowel, Ont., and Roger Sloan (70) of Merritt, B.C., were one shot back at 10 under. Michael Gligic (72) of Burlington, Ont., was at 4 under and David Hearn (72) of Brantford, Ont., finished at 3 under.
Champ, who hails from nearby Sacramento, missed every fairway on the front nine but made several big second shots to stay in front. None was more impressive than after he drove into the far left rough on the par-5 fifth, pitched up and over a tall tree and onto the green 17 feet away and two-putted for birdie.
Champ bogeyed No. 8, but rebounded with a birdie on No. 9. He had a short chip-in for par on No. 11 after chunking his approach shot.
Champ's only other tour victory came last October in Mississippi at the Sanderson Farms Championship. He hadn't finished higher than sixth since, missing the cut 12 times.