Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Champ only one back at RSM Classic despite slow starts

Getty Images Getty Images
Cassandra Castillo | 19 November, 2018, 05:22

"I'm rolling the ball the best I ever had, and I'm also hitting quality shots", Champ said.

Howell was at 16-under 194 as he tries to end 332 starts on the PGA Tour without winning. "So I know I'm going to have enough looks throughout the round".

"I chose to just get in the fairway, just give myself looks on the greens, and that's been paying off so far", Champ said.

Nick Watney of Davis and Fresno State is four shots back in solo fourth after a 67 that included three straight birdies at the finish, while Ryan Blaum shot 65 and is one more down in a tie for fifth with David Hearn (66) of Canada and southpaw Brian Harman (68). Ten players are within five shots of the lead, a list that includes Sea Island resident Zach Johnson, who had a 65. But he recovered with a pair of birdies, made the turn in 32 and had a four-shot lead over Champ.

"I'm playing well so I know that at that point I feel like you have 12, 13 holes left, there's plenty of birdie opportunities, especially on the back side", said Champ, who finished with a 66 on Day 3 to move to 15 under par.

And then it was steady golf the rest of the way as Champ and Gore, along with Simpson and others, closed the gap.

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"It also makes me have a lot of respect for guys that have found out ways to win a bunch". I've got a real job now and all that good stuff. It's not going to change my life.

Champ, the big-hitting 23-year-old who won his first title at the Sanderson Farms Championship last month, seized his share of second place with a birdie at No. 18, where he stuck his second shot less than three feet from the pin.

"I'll be a disgruntled 39-year-old right in the middle", Howell said with a laugh.

Since then he has seen his career disrupted by back trouble, but he is making the most this week of a sponsor's exemption and played the back nine on Saturday in five-under with three birdies and an eagle at the par-five 15th.

This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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