Cameron Champ is again playing like his last name.
The 28-year-old Champ (pictured), from Sacramento, shot four-under-par 67 and is tied for the lead with Lanto Griffin midway through the 41st Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.
“Obviously, I got off to a great start, but still was kind of just, my swing really wasn’t completely there today,” said Champ, who claimed the last of this PGA Tour tiles in the 2021 3M Open. “We kind of figured out at the end it was a ball position deal, kind of throwing my rhythm off, and I was, not forcing it, but kind of, it just didn’t feel right. But like I said, with the way I felt like I was hitting it, I was just able to score.
“Again, that’s the main thing. I feel like today I turned an even par, one-under, at least coming down the stretch into a four-under, which was crucial. Besides that, my game feels good. Off the tee, irons, everything felt great. It’s just one of those days in golf.
“It’s been a year and a half since I won, and I just can’t wait for the weekend.”
Griffin birdied five holes in row through No. 4 after starting on the back nine before making his only bogey at the fifth hole in a 66, which dropped him out of sole possession of the lead.
He finished with four straight pars, which kept him tied for the lead with Champ.
“I got off to a slow start, to tell you the truth,” said Griffin, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2019 Houston Open. “The back nine is kind of where you want to get it on this course, and the goal today was to get a couple under.
“Any time you shoot a good first round, you want to get one or two early and then it settles you down and you can keep pushing. That didn’t happen today, but I made really good birdies on Nos. 16 and No. 18 to kind of settle me into the round, and then I birdied Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 after the turn, and then it was just kind of just get in a groove and ride it.
“It was a little frustrating not to birdie No. 9 and two par-5s, but I would have been extremely happy with five-under-par to start the day. Yeah, we’ve got two more days, and I like where I’m at.”
Griffin, who won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour, collected five birdies in his 66, but missed a 16-foot birdie putt on his last hole that would have given him the outright lead.
Lexi Thompson of the LPGA Tour, who was playing in the tournament on a sponsor’s exemption, wound up at 73-69—141, even par, and missed the cut by three strokes.
“It was a special week,” said Thompson, who has won 11 times on the LPGA Tour, including a major in the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship.. “Obviously, the two rounds were very special, but to be out here, play with the men and just to see the kids alongside cheering my name, and hopefully inspiring those kids to follow their dreams.”
Champ, who opened with a 63, collected seven birdies in round two, sinking a five-foot birdie putt when he finished at the ninth hole to record a 36-hole score of 12-under-par 130.
Griffin, who was born in Mount Shasta, started a No. 10 and birdied the first four holes of his back nine before making his lone bogey at the fifth hole in a 66 to tie Champ for the 36-hole lead at 130.
Henrik Norlander of Sweden, who won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour and lost in a playoff at the Sanderson Farms Championship last week, sank a nine-foot eagle putt on No. 9 to finish his 64, which included six birdies, and is one stroke back in solo third, while Nick Taylor of Canada holed a 48-foot eagle putt from the fringe on No. 16 and added two birdies in a bogey-free 67 to wind up two shots behind in a tie for fourth with J.T. Poston, who sank a nine-foot eagle putt on No. 9 in a 64 that included six birdies.
First-round leader Beau Hossler of Rancho Santa Margarita made four birdies in a 71 and is four shots behind in a tie for sixth with Alex Noren of Sweden, who made seven birdies in a 65, Luke List, who won the Sanderson Farms last week and made four birdies on the front nine in a 68, K.H. Lee of South Korea, who sank a 16-foot eagle putt at No. 16 and added seven birdies in a 64, and Sam Ryder, who made five birdies in a bogey-free 66.
Defending champion Tom Kim of South Korea had six birdies in a second straight 68 and is tied for 26th.
For complete results and third-round tee times, visit: https://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/2023/shriners-childrens-open/R2023545/leaderboard