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Champ aims to defend 3M title in another challenging season

BLAINE, Minn. (AP) — Cameron Champ fought off dehydration and dizziness down the stretch to win the 3M Open last year with a bogey-free final round, a confidence-boosting win for a young player trying to establish himself on the PGA tour. The challenges for Champ have persisted this season, and he has arrived in Minnesota in search of another late-summer bump to make the FedEx Cup playoffs. “This is just one of those places where it doesn’t…

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AP — BLAINE, Minn. A young golfer attempting to make a name for himself on the PGA tour, Cameron Champ overcame dehydration and lightheadedness down the stretch to win the 3M Open last year with a bogey-free final round.

Champ has had a number of difficulties this season, so he has traveled to Minnesota in quest of one last late-summer boost to advance to the FedEx Cup playoffs.

It doesn’t matter whether I play well or poorly in this situation, it’s simply one of those locations. After his pro-am warmup for the fourth iteration of this tournament at the TPC Twin Cities course, which likes big hitters like him, Champ stated on Wednesday, “I’m simply extremely comfortable with it.

The first competition on Champ’s schedule for 2021–22 saw him miss the cut. He shattered his left wrist after that and was unable to play for close to four months. A false start with a positive COVID-19 test shortly before his return resulted in him having to withdraw from the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

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“To put it mildly, this year has been exciting. In addition to injuring my wrist in the fall, I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life. If it would be serious or not was a question that was left unanswered for a long time. The good news is that it wasn’t too bad, but Champ, who is ranked 153rd in the FedEx Cup standings with the top 125 players qualified for the playoffs, said it was dangerously close to potentially ruining his career for a long time.

Despite missing the cut in four of his last five rounds, his season-best finish of tenth at the Masters stood out.

Champ remarked, “I believe I’ve gotten more good than bad out of it. “I’m in a far better headspace, even from where I stand or when people look at my data or say whatever they want to. I’m more aware of myself. I am aware of my motivations.

Hideki Matsuyama, who is eighth in the FedEx Cup standings and fourteenth in the world, is the highest-ranked player in the field. Stewart Cink, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Lucas Glover, and Danny Willett are the other major champions who will start play on Thursday.

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Along with budding players Jhooyung Kim, Davis Riley, and Sahith Theegala, Tony Finau and Rickie Fowler are also in attendance. Chris Gotterup and Cale Hammer are two talents who have recently graduated from college golf who are worth keeping an eye on. At the NCAA championships in May, Gotterup (Oklahoma) tied for fifth, while Texas won the team competition thanks to Hammer.

Mardy Fish, a former tennis pro and Minnesota native who is one of eight sponsor exemptions in the field, is without a doubt the most unusual participant among the 155 athletes this year. After a serious anxiety illness ended his tennis career, Fish has become more well-known for his support of and candor around mental health.

In 2004, Fish—who won six ATP tour titles and the silver medal at the Olympics—met Jack Nicklaus on the celebrity circuit. Fish then leveraged a tip from one of golf’s all-time greats to get a seat on the PGA Tour event taking place in his home state.

“I’ve been playing golf my entire life, ever since I was able to stand up, and all you do is whack a tiny white ball around. It’s right there in front of you because I don’t have to chase after it or do anything like that, Fish added.

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Additional AP golf coverage can be found at https://apnews.com/hub/golf and on Twitter at @AP Sports.

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