Cameron Champ's six birdies put him in contention midway through 2021 Masters
When Cameron Champ putted for par on No. 9 on Friday at Augusta National Golf Club, Jeff Champ couldn’t handle it any more.
He said his anxiety levels and nerves ramped up. After Cameron teed off at No. 10, his father, Jeff, didn’t follow. He stayed by the 18th green, hoping to gather himself by the time Cameron made the trek up the final fairway.
“The anxiety kicked in, man. When he made that putt on nine for par, I just, being a baseball player, rally caps and whatever, I couldn’t watch the back nine,” he said, shortly after Cameron’s par putt to finish at 4-under 140 through two rounds of the 85th Masters Tournament.
“When you’re a baseball player, you come with rally caps, you got double rally caps. You know what, it’s like we gotta do that in the game of golf too.”
It looked as if his superstitions worked out. Though Cameron bogeyed No. 11, his only bogey of the second nine, he birdied Nos. 13 and 14 and parred the final four holes to get within three shots of leader, Justin Rose.
Much like the second round, Cameron was happy with his round.
He caught momentum early with birdies on four of the first six holes to get 4-under. The first of his two bogeys came on No. 7.
“I just made a few hiccups, so just to get it going solid and then kind of keep it going, and to me I made some good bogeys,” Cameron said, later adding, "Just eliminate the big numbers because I feel like for me the course sets up well for me and I'm able to make a lot of birdies.”
Cameron's family and friends have followed along every hole, and there was little surprise to see him get out to a hot start.
“It’s a typical good round for Cameron," said family friend Paul Aguirre. "He’s hitting the ball well, he’s putting well and when he has those two things going, he typically has really good results. I would say, better than average,” Aguirre said.
“With his length, he’ll throw a string of birdies together. This seems to be no different.”
Speaking of length, through the first two rounds, Cameron leads the field with an average drive distance of 333.8 yards, 5.9 more than the next closest, Bryson DeChambeau.
For Cameron, it was never a doubt he could be in contention going into the weekend.
"I've been putting in the work. I've been doing the proper things and have slowly started to see my game transcend," Cameron said. "Obviously, the results haven't been there, but as far as how I've prepared and how I've gone about things, and again, just getting more comfortable out here on tour in general has, again, just helped me evolve as a player."
If Cameron gets off to a strong start like he did on Friday, don’t expect Jeff to go past the 18th green. His nerves and superstitious background will keep him watching and cheering from afar.
“Like I said, it seems if Cameron is having a good round, Jeff’s gonna hang (back on) the back nine,” Aguirre said.