Champ Birdies 18th Hole to Win Safeway Open

For Cameron Champ of Sacramento, the easiest thing he had to do all week was play golf.

The 24-year-old Champ, who learned recently that his grandfather, Mack, has terminal cancer, couldn’t hold a three-stroke lead but sank a four-foot birdie putt on the last hole to beat Adam Hadwin of Canada by one stroke in the Safeway Open on the North Course at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa.

“I’ve won before, but this will always be the biggest moment of my career,” said Champ, who made the 65-mile trip to-and-from Sacramento each day to visit his grandfather, who is under hospice care. “I hit quality shots on the last hole and I wasn’t nervous over the putt, but it was a relief when it went in.

“It’s a blessing because this has been a battle for our family. I don’t know if it was meant to be or what, but it means everything with all my family members and friends here. My mind was elevated and I was able to play well all week.”

Champ, who claimed his first PGA Tour victory last season as a rookie in the Sanderson Farms Championship, started with scores of 67-68-67 and collected four birdies on the front nine in the final round en route to a 3-under-par 69 to record a 72-hole total of 17-under 271.

Hadwin, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2017 Valspar Championship, made Champ work for his victory by finishing with three straight birdies to card a second straight 67 and take the clubhouse lead one group ahead of Champ. Mark Leishman of Australia made four birdies on each nine in a 65 to finish three back in solo third.

Sixth-ranked Justin Thomas closed with a 69 to finish four shots behind in a tie for fourth with Zac Blair and Charles Howell III, who both had 68s, while Dylan Frittelli of South Africa shot 66 to tie for seventh, five down, with Cameron Percy of Australia, who had a 68, and Xinjun Xhang of China, who recorded a 69.

Nick Watney of Davis and Fresno State carded a 71 to finish six strokes back in a tie for 10th with Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal, who also had a 71, and Nick Taylor of Canada, who came in at 72.

Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis, the 36-hole leader who struggled to a 76 in round three, shot 70 to tie for 13th, first-round leader Adam Scott tied for 17th after at 68, ninth-ranked Francesco Molinari of Italy posted a 71 to tie for 23rd, and seventh-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA tied for 40th following a 72.

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