PGA Championship - Round Two
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NorCal native shoots 64 in the second round, feels at home in San Francisco

TPC Harding Park was made for long hitters, they said.

Enter Cameron Champ. Rebounding from a 1-over-par, opening-round 71 Thursday, Champ shot a six-under 64 on Friday, tying Tommy Fleetwood for the low round of the morning. He’s currently 5-under in a tie for fourth, three behind leader Haotong Li at the 2020 PGA Championship. His only blemish after seven birdies was a bogey on the par-3 8th.

Second on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee (1.017) and Driving Distance (321.3 yards), Champ said he drives it better when he swings hard, not when he’s worried about hitting fairways.

“I'm more committed over it,” he said. “I'm not worrying about trying to keep it low and trying to make sure it cuts so it stays in the fairway versus if I just go at it -- if I miss the fairway I'm going to be a lot further up there and just deal with it, and then obviously if I found my groove kind of like I did today, then I'll hit a lot of fairways.”

When Champ turned pro in 2017, he made a splash with booming tee shots and a nice showing at his first major, a tie for 32nd at the 2017 U.S. Open. Fans and the media are always enamored with his distance, but he’s worked hard to become a more complete player. The 25 year old has been solid since the restart in mid-June with three top-25 finishes.

He feels at home in San Francisco, which is less than two hours from where he grew up. Champ, who currently lives in Houston, won the 2020 Safeway Open in Napa last fall for his second Tour win, following a victory at the 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship. As expected, Champ made 4 on both par 5s at TPC Harding Park. Back-to-back birdies at the short 16th and par-3 17th led to a stellar 31 on the back nine.

“I've played a lot of golf down here, just all over California, honestly,” he said. “It's just nice to be back here. Definitely the cool weather is new since I'm based in Houston, but it's definitely a nice change.”

The emergence of Bryson DeChambeau’s driving prowess has stolen some of the spotlight normally directed at Champ. He’s okay with that. He readily admits that Tony Finau is the longest player in the game if he wanted to be.

“Everyone wants to talk about distance. Yeah, it's our new modern era,” he said. “The long ball is what attracts everyone. You know, which it should. Nowadays guys (like DeChambeau) are hitting it longer and longer and longer. But it's definitely not something that bothers me or anything like that (if someone hits it farther). To me, yes, you can hit it far, but you've still got to put up a score.”

He posted a good one Friday. Now he’s got to prove he can do it again on the weekend at a major championship.

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