Campbell continues brilliant start to 2006
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2006 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic | Wrap | 23 Jan 2006
After his runner up placing at last week’s Sony Open, Chad Campbell has continued on where he left off in Hawaii by winning the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic by three shots over Jesper Parnevik and Scott Verplank.
Campbell has now led into five rounds in two events on the USPGA Tour in 2006 and has in most cases been able to retain that lead. The exception was last week when David Toms moved ahead of him in the final round but today, although there was the occasional stumble, he never really looked like being headed.
Campbell’s win takes him to the top of the money list in 2006 with US$1.348 million some $100,000 ahead of Stuart Appleby.
With a one shot lead prior to the fifth and final round of this marathon in the desert, Campbell was joined briefly by Scott Verplank through the early stages of the final round before a birdie at the 8th hole from 12 feet and an eagle at the 9th hole saw him make a break, which at the time appeared to be a winning one. A huge drive by Campbell at the 9th set up just a mid iron to the par five which came to rest some 30 feet from the hole. When that went in he had moved to 26 under and three ahead.
At the very next hole however he caught the right hand rough with his tee shot and then faced with a difficult shot to the long par four. He found the hazard to the front and right of the green and took a double bogey. His lead was still two, however, over Verplank with John Huston and Jesper Parnevik making moves from further back. A further dropped shot at the 13th saw him just one clear but he responded with consecutive birdies at the 14th and 15th to put the issue beyond doubt.
Australian John Senden had also been in the mix early in the final round when he birdied two of the first four holes to get to 22 under and within two. The next few holes however would see Senden on a rollercoaster ride as he looked to equal and better his best USPGA Tour performance, which had been at this tournament last year when 6th. He bogeyed five of the next eight holes but threw in a birdie at the 7th and like Campbell he would eagle the 9th after a brilliant second from 250 yards finished eight feet from the hole. At that point he was back at 22 under and within two but he was back on the bogey train over the back nine before a birdie at the last saw him close the round with his best USPGA Tour finish when he shared fifth with Phil Mickelson and Mike Weir.
It will be a day of mixed emotions for Senden having achieved his best performance on the USPGA Tour but having let a chance of something even better slip from his grasp. Still the US$182,000, his largest ever cheque, might help soften the blow.
For Parnevik this was his best performance since October of 2004 when joint runner-up in yet another Chrysler event in Tampa. He appears well and truly on the way back after a year or two battling the golfing demons.
The ultra consistent Verplank was at it again. He has not won since Canada in 2001 but he is such a consistent placegetter that he has accumulated US$9.5 million between that win and now and must be due for that all important win soon. This was his first start of the season but augurs well for 2006.
For fourth placed Huston, this is a significant improvement on recent form also. He missed the cut in Hawaii last week where he has often played well but bounced back here. He could only manage 120th on the 2005 money list so this week’s effort is a good sign for him.
Of the other Australians, Steve Elkington faded from his opening 64 to finish 35th and David McKenzie fell apart with a closing nine of 42 to finish 68th after being well placed for a good cheque heading into the final day.
The USPGA Tour now heads to Torrey Pines near San Diego for the Buick Classic and the long awaited return of Tiger Woods.