SOLIDARIDAD, Mexico — Cameron Champ is back atop a PGA Tour leaderboard. Just two weeks after a breakthrough win at the Sanderson Farms Championship, the big-bombing 23-year-old fired a second-round 62 to seize the lead at the Mayakoba Golf Championship.
“I forgot what par was, to be honest,” he said after the round. “I was just flowing, I was just in the zone, really, and I was just trying to execute each shot at a time.”
Let’s dive into the numbers to tell you everything you need to know from Champ’s second round.
That would be distance, in yards, of Champ’s average drive in the second round. This is the number that’s easiest to gawk at, and feel free to do so — Champ hits it further than anyone else on Tour (he also carries two four-irons!). That total also included a 350-yard Friday missile that measured the longest of any tee shot in the field. It’s also buoyed by a cartoonish 130 mph swing speed. But the distance works best in concert with our next number:
That’s the number of fairways hit, out of 28, by Champ through two rounds. On Thursday he hit 10/14. On Friday he hit 11. That averages out to 75 percent for the week, which was tied for 13th in the field midway through Friday afternoon’s round. That’s right — Champ is not only the longest hitter in the field, he’s also in the top 10 percent when it comes to fairways hit. On a relatively tight course with a premium on finding the short grass, that’s a lethal combination.
The number of players who shot four-under 67 or better during Thursday’s first round. That means nearly a third of the field was deep in red figures (Champ was T42 entering the day), and it means that, 62 or not, Champ is nowhere close to the finish line with this tournament. With the cut line hovering around -4, there will be a ton of talented players with birdies ahead of them this weekend. Good news for Champ? He’s vibing the whole place. “I’m very comfortable out here and I’m just playing stress-free,” he said.
Champ’s score on the par-4 ninth hole, his last of the day. It marked the only blemish on a scorecard that had an eye-popping eight birdies and an eagle. Even worse, it cost Champ a chance at the course record of 61, which he would have tied with a par at No. 9. But I don’t think Champ is complaining.
Champ’s projected rank in the FedEx Cup with a win this weekend. I know, I know. It’s the Tour’s silly season, and early FedEx Cup projections are an absurd way to look at the big picture. But it’s wild to think that Champ’s Tour takeover could be beginning this quickly.
This thing isn’t even close to over; Champ may not even hold the lead by the end of the day. But Friday’s round was a statement to the golf world at large: Cameron Champ is here to stay.