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Campbell's solo 3rd in Portugal a welcome sign

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It has been a long, slow, frustrating climb back to relevance for Michael Campbell.

Since his breakthrough 2005 season – in which he won the U.S. Open, captured the HSBC World Match Play Championship and earned nearly €2.5 million – he’s been mired in an incredible slump.

In the past seven years, Campbell has earned less than €20,000 euros in a season twice, posted an average European Tour finish of 90th or worse three times and, most recently, had 84 consecutive starts – yes, 84 – without a top-10 finish.

Which made his performance Sunday in Portugal all the more remarkable: The 43-year-old New Zealander finished solo third at the Portugal Masters, two shots behind Shane Lowry, which represented his best finish in four years. It was the first time he shot all four rounds in the 60s in more than nine years.

“If someone said to me at the start of the week, ‘Look, Michael, you’ll finish third or fourth after this week,’ I’d be very happy, indeed,” Campbell told reporters. “I am just very happy to be up there now and just in contention. I felt very calm out there once again.”

Campbell has shown signs of life recently, however faint the heartbeat. He tied for 11th at the French Open in July, then was T-14 at last month’s Omega European Masters.

The eight-time European Tour winner is currently ranked 607th in the world.

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