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Campbell Showing Hes a Player

Whether you like it or not, you must now add Chad Campbell to your short list of favorites for this weeks Players Championship. Campbell has now won two of the last 10 PGA Tour events he has entered--the 2003 Tour Championship and the 2004 Bay Hill Invitational.
Yes, he started slowly this year. And he putted poorly. But if you were paying close attention, you could have seen what happened Sunday at Bay Hill coming. Thats where he posted a tidy little 66 in the final round to reel in a resurgent Stuart Appleby, who entered the final round with what looked to be a comfortable four-shot lead.
Campbell had gotten untracked in his last two tournaments, both top 10s, coming to Bay Hill. Then he led the field in putting. The 29-year-old Texan is known primarily as a ball-striker. Any week he leads the field in putting is an almost guaranteed top five.
Which brings us back to The Players Championship that begins Thursday at the Stadium Course at the TPC at Sawgrass. Campbell played in that event for the first time last year. He tied for sixth. Afterward, he said he loves the golf course. Let this serve as a caution to the rest of the field.
Until last year Campbell was known as the best player never to have gotten his tour card. He dominated the Hooters Tour for a period of years but never managed to play well the week of Q-School.
Campbell remains comprehensively unaffected by his sudden success on golfs biggest stage. The joke going around late Sunday was that he probably celebrated his second tour win by eating at Applebees (the restaurant). One cynic cracked that he didnt need to, he had dined on Appleby all day long. Indeed, Campbells final 18 was a whopping 10 shots better than Applebys 76.
Campbell has now all but clinched a Ryder Cup berth. And after Bay Hill he said, aw shucks, that he guessed this kind of proved that his first win wasnt a fluke, somebody was saying that the other day.
It wasnt any of the tour pros. They know Campbell is a players player. They know he might very well have a major championship notch on his belt if Shaun Micheel hadnt stiffed that 7-iron at Oak Hill on the 72nd hole of last years PGA Championship.
I was obviously disappointed that I didnt win there, Campbell said Sunday. But I played--we both played real well. . . . I took a lot out of that, knowing that I would be able to compete in major championships and out here regularly.
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