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October 28, 2018

Cameron Champ

Jackson, Mississippi

THE MODERATOR: We would like to introduce now the winner of the 2018 Sanderson Farms Championship Cameron Champ. Cameron, congratulations on your first career PGA TOUR victory. As mentioned down there, with the win, two-year exemption, 300 FedExCup points, and jump to No. 6 in the standings. A long way to go on the season, but nice to get off to a great start in the fall.

With all that said, just a few comments on winning your first career tour victory here at Sanderson Farms Championship.

CAMERON CHAMP: Yeah, I mean, first off like to thank my parents, my family and friends, everyone close around me through all the years. Obviously this year has been a big rollercoaster. This time last year I was in school; made it through Q-School, then the Web, graduated from there, and then obviously my second start on the PGA TOUR I won.

It's just been an amazing year. Obviously thank Nike PING and Srixon for all they do for me. My coach, Sean Foley, my agent, Chris Armstrong, and then obviously last but not least is definitely Papa Champ back home. I wish he could be here, but obviously with the circumstances it would have been kind of hard for him to get here. I definitely know he was probably home watching it all day long. He's the man that was able to make this happen for me.

THE MODERATOR: We've seen a lot of you this week in here and out on the golf course, and you've always kept yourself very composed. Seemed like the birdie at 16 you really allowed yourself to kind of get into the enthusiasm a little bit more. Is that accurate?

CAMERON CHAMP: Yeah, definitely. I mean, that wasn't a putt I was trying to make. I was trying to just have good speed and get it down there for an easy par.

Obviously had perfect speed and read it perfectly and just dropped in there. Just kind of an instinct really. I knew how important that hole was. Obviously the last three, but I think that really just kind of gave my a little momentum boost.

THE MODERATOR: With that, open up and take a few questions.

Q. (Regarding the putt on 17.)
CAMERON CHAMP: About 12 feet downhill; broke about a cup and a half; I kind of hit it a little too far, but luckily it held its break and went in.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
CAMERON CHAMP: Oh, yeah, definitely. I mean, 18, it fit me well. Obviously I was kind of struggling with my driver today, but, yeah, I mean, it just kind of made things a little less stressful.

Q. Take us through the driving range and breaking your driver head and then mentally trying to adjust to that all through I guess the first part of the front nine, and then trying to figure out what was working for you and then how your caddie kind of got your act back together going to the back nine.
CAMERON CHAMP: Yeah, I was on the range and actually had my headphones in at the time. I hit the first drive and kind of fell out of the air. I was like, Oh, that's kind of weird. Probably cracked there but didn't crack on the top yet. Then I hit another one and it just split straight and a half.

Yeah, it was very unexpected. Then my backup is actually my old one I have that week. I didn't bring a new new head. It was an older one from my previous driver. I know the weighting was just a little bit off, so just tried to hit as many balls as I could on the range with it just to get used to it a little bit.

Yeah, I tried to manage it. Obviously I knew mostly today was probably mixed with nerves and adrenaline and just trying to find my tempo and my swing and whatnot.

The drivers are pretty much the same. I don't think it really affected me much.

Q. What changed with the birdie putt at 13? You gave the fist pump and maybe the first big emotion of the day, and then you went on that birdie run. Was there something that changed with that birdie?
CAMERON CHAMP: I just felt like it was big. It was the only birdie opportunity I really with had, decent look for -- I don't even know. Maybe since 6, and even 6 was 20 feet. I knew how important that was with Connors being -- I mean, he was just inside me as well on the opposite side, so, you know, I knew if I made that it might put a little pressure on him, even though he played amazing.

Gave me a little momentum going into the par-5 as well, which today was straight downwind so pretty much all of us could get to it. Felt like a pretty easy birdie hole.

Q. Obviously you're kind of known for your driving, but is it kind of nice to win a tournament because of your putting essentially, show you're more of a complete golfer?
CAMERON CHAMP: Yeah, definitely. That's definitely been a part of my game I've worked on extremely hard on the Web Tour last year. I've been kind of been a streaky putter at times. Just trying to just slowly grow obviously other parts of my game as well, short game and putting, but mainly putting, because my ball striking has been so good.

I gave myself a lot of chances, and just kind of don't feel like I capitalized on them as much as I want. So just to see those putts go in and the confidence it gives me throughout the rest of my game really helped this week.

Q. Can you imagine 51 weeks ago probably just getting midterms, teeing up at second stage, and now you're a tour winner.
CAMERON CHAMP: Yeah, like I said, it's pretty unreal. Yeah, I can think back to second stage when I kind of almost choked with three holes to go. Made a great putt on 17 to move on to finals.

Yeah, I mean, just to see how I've progressed as a person, with my game this last year, then just to be able to put it all together even when my driver wasn't really too good this week, even though the fairways were a little more narrow than most courses we play, but just to see other aspects of my game improving to help me win this week was awesome.

Q. Was there a panic when you saw the cracked driver? Was there a panic moment?
CAMERON CHAMP: Well, yes, just because I thought I left it at the hotel room. I was asking questions if somehow my dad can go back and get it and drive it out if I could switch it, which I would've been able to. So then I was fine then.

But I would've needed it by 3:00, the par-5. So, but, no, I was fine after that.

Q. That lead shrank a lot there on the final round. What got you through it? How did you kind of work your way to be on the run you did on the back nine?
CAMERON CHAMP: I just talked to my caddie on 11 after I made that good par save on 10. I was just trying to do too much. Just went back to just hitting my basic shots. I hit a great shot my second shot on 11 but it didn't fly, and then same thing, I hit a good drive on 12 and then good tee shot on 13.

Just tried to keep it simple, not force things, and that's what he kind of just kept telling me. Cam, just stay positive; keep doing your thing; the putts will come; it'll come. Eventually I put one good swing after another, and then I got on that nice little run.

Q. (Regarding club head speed.)
CAMERON CHAMP: I've done it a few times, but not with the new PINGs. That's a first. Usually just kind of indent the face but it won't crack. That was the first one ever for me.

Q. What's your caddie's name and did he ever, going into the back nine, kind of remind you that basically you played the back nine 11-under the first three rounds?
CAMERON CHAMP: Yeah, his name a Kurt Kowaluk. Yeah, I mean, I knew that as well, and also did he. It fits me very well, all those holes. I knew it. 11 obviously was one I wish I would've got, but I just kept pushing. That 13, 14, 15, 16 stretch is pretty good. I just felt like if I just hit decent shots, nothing crazy, I can definitely capitalize on those.

THE MODERATOR: Will you spell your caddie's name?

CAMERON CHAMP: K-u-r-t, K-o-w-a-l-u-k.

THE MODERATOR: Pretty confident about that?

CAMERON CHAMP: I'm pretty sure.

THE MODERATOR: Anybody else?

Q. Was there a tournament from a lower level or previous experience where you had had a lead and lost it and went on to win that you could draw upon?

Q. Anything you look back on to give you confidence after the lead had gone away?
CAMERON CHAMP: Nothing that really comes to mind, honestly. The Web win I kind of had -- kept the lead, then my college win it was kind of the same thing.

Nothing really that comes to mind.

Q. (Regarding No. 11.)
CAMERON CHAMP: Probably should have putted it or used like a higher iron or 3-wood. It's just straight into the grain, which is why I putted it on 14. So if you don't absolutely pinch is perfectly you're going to stub it or you're going to hit it thin.

So that's why like I said on that hole I did it. Then on 17 tried to do the same thing. It was straight into the grain and I kind of overpowered it and didn't grab as much into the hill.

Q. You've mentioned the Web a couple times. You're the fifth consecutive winner to be a Web grad to go on and win. Can you speak to what the Web did for you to get you to this stage, and others?
CAMERON CHAMP: Yeah, I think it just prepares you for everything. Obviously turning pro as a college kid, college golf is completely different from professional golf, in my personal opinion. Just the traveling, scheduling, figuring out your schedules, when you arrive, Monday or Tuesday, whether you play this certain amount of practice rounds and whatnot.

Then teaches you I think just how to score. On the Web, I feel like it's maybe 60/40. Some courses you really got to go low, and others stick to your game and make your birdies when they come.

Just felt like it taught me how to play. Since it's a long season you're going to have good weeks and bad weeks. I think just every aspect and of playing professional golf it definitely prepared you for.

And then once you got out here I was comfortable. I would definitely say my first few events on the Web were a little bit shaky. Obviously it was only about seven, eight months ago. I just fell like my maturity level from then to now is dramatically different, just the way I approach the game, think about it. There is no pressure. I just play, and I think that's just kind of what's made me, I guess progress as a player, but then also helped out this week.

THE MODERATOR: Mr. Sanderson, on behalf of everyone we would like to thank you for another wonderful year.

Cameron Champ, congratulations on your first TOUR victory at the Sanderson Farms Championship.

CAMERON CHAMP: Thank you guys.

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