Campbell Looks to Emerge from Shell


2005 Shell Houston OpenPhil Mickelson has played the Shell Houston Open three times. Ernie Els has played it only once. And Tiger Woods has never made the trip.
Vijay Singh is a two-time champion, so they can bank on an annual appearance from the worlds No. 2-ranked player.
Chad Campbell
Chad Campbell led the Hooters Tour in earnings three times and the Nationwide Tour once before joining the PGA Tour.
In Texas, however, they love their own. So if there is no Tiger or no Ernie or no Phil, they can still find plenty of others to follow around the Redstone Golf Club.
Local favorite Fred Couples, who won this event in 2003, isnt making the trip this season, but fellow University of Houston alum Steve Elkington is here, as are Dallas native Hank Kuehne and Andrews native Chad Campbell.
Campbell is Texan through and through, which makes it all-the-more surprising that he attended the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, where he received a scholarship after Woods turned down the Rebels in favor of Stanford.
The 30-year-old loves his honky-tonk music and his wife has even made her own country music CD. His first PGA Tour win came in the Lone Star State.
Campbells initial tour triumph was in Houston at the 2003 Tour Championship. That victory put him on the golfing map and made him everyones favorite rising star.
The shine on that star was polished further when he won the 2004 Bay Hill Invitational. However, the gleam has dulled a bit since his victory at Arnies place over a year ago.
Over his final 19 starts in 04, Campbell had one top-10 finish ' a runner-up at the Bank of America Colonial (in Ft. Worth, Texas, of course) ' compared to four missed cuts and one withdrawal. He also went 1-2-0 in his Ryder Cup debut.
This year has been a little better, but nonetheless sporadic. Playing without a club contract while trying to decide which company suits him best, Campbell has three top-10s in nine starts.
He was runner-up to Adam Scott in the unofficial and rain-reduced Nissan Open, where he lost on the first hole of sudden-death in the 36-hole event. He held the first-round lead at The Honda Classic after opening in 64, but followed with rounds of 71-80-71 to tie for 52nd.
He tied for 17th at the Masters in his most recent start. It doesnt seem like a great performance from a man who was proclaimed by his peers as the player most likely to win a major in a 2003 issue of Sports Illustrated. But after missing the cut in three of four majors in 2004, it was a nice rebound.
Campbells stats this season are unimpressive, but not altogether unattractive. Hes 23rd on tour in greens hit in regulation; outside the top 60 in driving accuracy; in the mid-70s in putting average; and outside the top 100 in driving distance.
You might think that the outside expectations would start to weigh on Campbell, or that not being in contention on a regular basis might frustrate him. But the mellow West Texan just seems to take things in stride.
Thats kind of my style: whatever happens, happens, and I'll deal with it, he said.
I guess the only thing that has ever bothered me (on tour) is when people start off the back nine on the practice round when we get out here at 7:00 (a.m.). Kind of slows me down.
Now thats mellow.
Campbell is making his third appearance in this event. He tied for 31st in 2002 and tied for 21st in 2003.
Even though he won the 03 Tour Championship at Champions Golf Club, he doesnt quite have the Houston resume of Singh.
Singh won this event at the TPC at The Woodlands in 2002 and then again at Redstone last year. He also has five other top-10 finishes in nine career starts.
His most recent triumph came by two shots over Scott Hoch. Due to incessant rain, he had to complete his third and final rounds on Monday for the victory.
Of course, Mother Nature has been a headliner much of this season, as well. She has adversely affected nine of 16 events that have been contested; however, last weeks MCI Heritage went off without a hitch.
Singh is one of eight multiple winners of this event. Curtis Strange has the most wins with three (1980, 86, 88). No one has ever repeated as champion.
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