JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Cameron Champ birdied five of the last six holes to win the Sanderson Farms Championship, recovering for his first PGA Tour victory after giving up a four-shot lead Sunday.
The 23-year-old Champ won in his ninth career tour start, closing with a 4-under 68 for a four-stroke victory. He finished at 21-under 267 in the wire-to-wire victory at the Country Club of Jackson.
Champ began the day four shots ahead, but played the front nine in 1 over to fall into a tie. Corey Conners pulled even on No. 9 with a 13-foot birdie putt, but Champ pulled away on the back nine with four straight birdies on Nos. 13-16. Conners had a 68 to finish second.
“The front side, there were some nerves, but on the back side I brought it all together and finished strong. It was awesome,” Champ said.
Carlos Ortiz (64) and Sam Burns (68) were six shots back.
Champ’s made a name for himself during his short career on tour by being extremely long off the tee, but it was his putter that saved him on Sunday. He made a 38-foot birdie putt on No. 16 that gave him a two-shot lead and he saved par on No. 17 with a 15-foot par putt.
He cruised through the first six holes at 1 under, but back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 7 and 8 brought him back to the pack.
While Champ was struggling, Conners was surging on a warm day in central Mississippi that saw temperatures climb into the 80s. The Canadian had three birdies on the front nine, and his birdie putt on the par-4 No. 9 had him in serious contention.
Champ and Conners then engaged in a tense back-and-forth for much of the back nine before Champ’s run of four straight birdies from Nos 13 to 16.
Even with that impressive stretch, Champ could only push ahead by two shots because Conners birdied two of those four holes as well.
Conners missed an opportunity for an eagle on No. 15 after missing a 7-foot putt that proved costly.
Champ closed his first tour victory with one final stunning moment on No. 18 — a 158-yard shot from the rough that stopped just 7 feet from the hole and set up another birdie putt.