Longtime friends Cameron Champ and Scottie Scheffler battle for low amateur at US Open

ERIN, Wis. (AP) — Cameron Champ got off to a rough start in the third round of the U.S. Open. Scottie Scheffler was sailing along until he ran into trouble on No. 18.

The last two amateurs at Erin Hills had quite a day.

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Champ used a strong back nine to escape with a 1-over 73 on Saturday, and Scheffler closed with a triple bogey for a 71. While Justin Thomas had a record-breaking 63, and Brian Harman surged to the top of the leaderboard, Champ and Scheffler spent much of the afternoon learning more about playing in one of golf’s most challenging tournaments.

“For the most part, I was pretty happy with the way I played today,” Scheffler said. “You know I had the hiccup on 18, but that’s what happens on a U.S. Open golf course. You put yourself out of position and lose focus and that’s what it gets you.”

Scheffler and Champ are good friends, having played together during a couple of youth tournaments. Scheffler plays for the University of Texas, and Champ at Texas A&M, but the competition for low amateur is a friendly one for the rising seniors.

Champ was 4 under, two shots ahead of Scheffler.

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“Obviously I want to be low am,” Champ said. “Me and Scottie are great buddies. I’m just going to play my game and at the end of the day whatever the score is it’s going to be. If I come out on top, obviously that would be fabulous. But if Scottie can pull a good round and end up beating me, good for him too.”

Champ was just two shots back of the leaders heading into the weekend. The long hitter — he leads the U.S. Open with a driving average of more than 338 yards — had generated some buzz with a 3-under 69 on Friday, and he got a big ovation when he was announced before the third round.

It took a while for him to settle down.

The 22-year-old Champ had two bogeys and a double bogey in the first seven holes. He righted himself with four birdies early…

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