Near the top of a Saturday leaderboard that is noticeably missing the world’s top three players—Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, and Jason Day shot a combined 19 over par and all missed the cut—you will notice the excellent sports name Cameron Champ, sitting next to a little “a” in parentheses. Champ is a rising senior at Texas A&M, and an amateur.
They don’t have dingers in golf, sadly, but if they did, Champ would be mashing dingers. He is absolutely murdering the ball off the tee, as detailed by Jason Sobel at ESPN:
On Thursday, he averaged — brace yourself, folks — 349.4 yards per drive. On Friday, he reeled it in and averaged a mere 329.1 yards. That left a two-day total of 339.2 that was two yards longer than the next player on the list and — brace yourself again — nearly 70 yards longer than the man who ranked last.
Erin Hills was the longest course in U.S. Open history on opening day, at over 7,700 yards. It got even longer on day two, playing at 7,839 yards. There’s an argument to be made, then, that the course sets up well for the mashers, and our guy Champ has preternatural mashing skills.
“I just naturally have done it since I was 15 or 16,” he said. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten a little farther, but a lot more straighter. When I was younger, it went everywhere. That didn’t work out too well.”
Champ’s got the total package working through two rounds at the U.S. Open. With the cut behind us and the field narrowed, the cameras should find the long-hitting underdog on day three, giving us a chance to watch Champ do more than roll in putts.
Smack it to Minnesota, Champ!