KAPALUA, Hawaii – Sean Foley stepped in behind the scenic 18th tee box on Kapalua’s Plantation Course and asked Cameron Champ, “What’re thinking here, Cam?”
Champ shrugged and offered a simple answer to his swing coach, “high one,” before launching a massive drive high into the island air that traveled well over 300 yards down the fairway.
It will be a common occurrence this week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions where seven of last season’s top 10 longest drives were hit, including Dustin Johnson’s 430-yard drive at the 12th hole on Sunday (second longest in 2018).
“It’s a bomber’s heaven with how undulating the fairways are; length out here is a big advantage,” Champ said. “It’s a ball-striking golf course, because the greens are so big you have to place it in the right spot. I definitely feel like length is the key here.”
The eye-opening moment for Champ came during his nine-hole practice round on Monday at the 555-yard, par-5 15th hole.
“It’s a blind tee shot where you have to land it in the right spot and I hit a decent one and it caught the hill and rolled all the way down. I hit 7-iron in,” the PGA Tour rookie said.
Champ currently leads the Tour in driving distance with a 328-yard average. By comparison, Rory McIlroy led the circuit last season with a 319-yard average.