Champ Shoots 67, Leads Safeway Open by 3

Cameron Champ of Sacramento made quite a splash when he won the Sanderson Farms Championship early in his rookie season a year ago, and after being a bit up-and-down since, he’s on the verge again.

The 24-year-old Champ shot a bogey-free, 5-under-par 67 to take a three-stroke lead over Sebastian Munoz of Colombia, and Canadians Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor heading to the final round of the Safeway Open on the North Course at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa.

“I just executed everything and hit the shots,” said Champ, who also won the 2018 Utah Championship on what is now the Korn Ferry Tour. “It was almost a flawless day, although I felt I left a couple out there on the last few holes, but that’s the way the chips fall sometimes.

“I didn’t make any silly mistakes, and when I was out of position, I was able to get up-and-down for par. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing, and I’ll have a chance to win tomorrow.”  

Champ collected his five birdies on the first 14 holes and then parred in to record a 54-hole score of 14-under 202.

Munoz, who claimed his first PGA Tour victory last week in the Sanderson Farms, reeled off a second straight 67s and is tied for second with Hadwin, who also had a bogey-free 67, and Taylor, who finished at 70 after two late bogeys.

Sixth-ranked Justin Thomas could manage only a 71 a day after shooting 64 and is four shots back in a tie for fifth with Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal, who had a 70 after his second-round 64, and Nick Watney of Davis and Fresno State, who rallied with four birdies on the back nine to salvage a 72.

Brian Gay, who held the lead before making a quadruple-bogey 8 on the 10th hole, totaled 70 and is another stroke down in a tie for ninth with Bud Cauley and Nic Blair, who both shot 66, Michael Thompson, who wound up at 68, Charles Howell III, who finished at 69, and Xinjun Zhang of China, who came in at 70.

Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis, who took the lead with a second-round 64, struggled to a 76 and is tied for 15th, ninth-ranked Francesco Molinari of Italy shot 72 and is tied for 22nd, seventh-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA is tied for 30th following a 70, and first-round leader Adam Scott of Australia totaled 73 and is tied for 36th.

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