Finishing second by two strokes to Shaun Micheel was Campbell's best finish by far in a major tournament, but it was also a case of what could have been.
The previous four PGA runners-up included Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia. Impressive names, but that doesn't get yours on the Wanamaker Trophy.
'It is very difficult to get yourself in the position of the last group of a major championship, and I have to take the positive of the way I played coming down the stretch and use that the next time I get in this position, and hopefully that will be soon,' he said.
The 29-year-old Campbell shot a 5-under 65 on Saturday, the best round of the tournament held at an unforgiving Oak Hill Country Club. That got him into a tie with Micheel at 4 under heading into the final round.
Micheel birdied the first hole, Campbell bogeyed it, and they were never tied again - although Campbell was within a stroke heading to No. 18.
Micheel's miraculous second shot within three inches of the cup on that final hole sealed his win and Campbell's runner-up spot.
'I didn't know how close his was,' Campbell said of Micheel's instant classic 7-iron. 'I didn't know it was an inch. I was thinking four or five feet, and he would have to make a putt, and I could make a birdie, or something else would happen, but that was a great shot and he played great all day.'
Campbell followed Micheel's great shot with one that left him about 20 feet away, and he two-putted for a 2-over 72 to finish second alone at 2-under 278, one stroke in front of Tim Clark.
'That was probably the best shot I've ever seen under the pressure,' Campbell said.
Micheel and Campbell are often mistaken for each other, and that was what they talked about on the putting green before the biggest round of their lives.
'On the back nine, we didn't talk much,' Campbell said.
They were right at each other, however.
Micheel birdied 14 while Campbell bogeyed the short par-4 for a two-shot swing that gave Micheel a three-stroke lead. They reversed roles on 15 when Campbell made a big breaking 30-foot birdie putt. Micheel then closed with birdies on 16 and 18 as Campbell parred out.
'Other than 14, I was pretty pleased with the way I played,' Campbell said. 'I just wish I could have gotten a couple of those putts to drop.'
Campbell, a 13-time winner on the Hooters Tour, was voted by his peers in a Sports Illustrated poll a few weeks ago as the next star-in-the-making. He almost made them look good in a hurry.
Despite his being 13th on this year's money list with over $1.8 million, Campbell is still far from a household name. One local newspaper referred to him Sunday as a native of New Zealand. He's from Texas. Michael Campbell, who is on the next page in the PGA Championship media guide, is from New Zealand.
Chad Campbell missed the cut in his first five majors before finishing tied for 35th at this year's U.S. Open and then tied for 15th at the British Open.
Now he's got a second at the PGA.
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