Charles Howell III increases lead at RSM Classic

Florence Fletcher
November 21, 2018

He had a six-under 64 on the Seaside course and matched the best 36-hole score of his career to build a three-shot lead.

With two quick birdies, Howell stretched his lead to five shots.

Howell, a two-time US PGA Tour victor but chasing his first title in more than a decade, kept the accelerator down on the par-70 Seaside course, a day after nabbing eight birdies on the par-72 Plantation course.

Howell didn't make enough birdies Saturday to do much of anything except post a 2-under 68 and keep his name atop the leaderboard at the RSM Classic, even if only by one shot over PGA Tour rookie Cameron Champ and part-time insurance salesman Jason Gore.

Champ bogeyed the second but drained a 30-footer at the sixth and closed out his front nine with back-to-back birdies, before making a tap-in gain at the 12th and picking up shots on each of his last four holes.

Gore only received a sponsor exemption Sunday evening when he was headed to Pebble Beach for an unofficial event. "I'm still shocked that putt went in". "I've got nothing to lose".

"I'm rolling the ball the best I ever had, and I'm also hitting quality shots", Champ said.

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In a bogey-free final round, Rodgers blasted out of a bunker to birdie to par-4 second, sank a four-foot birdie putt sat the par-5 seventh and drained a 45-foot birdie putt at the par-4 ninth.

"I chose to just get in the fairway, just give myself looks on the greens, and that's been paying off so far", Champ said.

The final two rounds will be played on the Seaside Course after each player in the field alternated between the Plantation Course and the Seaside the first two days. The 14th hole along with water causes the most consternation because the wind is strongest along the water, blowing into him and to the right.

It was the third career PGA win for Howell, whose first came in 2002 at Williamsburg, Virginia. "As many golf tournaments as I've played, this is still relatively new for me, which is kind of surprising at nearly 40 years old".

Howell says one problem he has battled is thinking too far ahead and trying too hard.

"I don't really care, to be honest with you", Gore said.

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