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Champ eager to make pro debut at Mayakoba

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A relatively unknown amateur just a few months ago, Cameron Champ is ready to make his professional debut this week at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

Champ turned heads and snagged headlines this summer at the U.S. Open, when the 22-year-old led the field with a 337-yard average off the tee en route to a T-32 finish. That result exempted him into the second stage of Tour Q-School, and after advancing last week to the third and final stage he opted to turn pro in the middle of his senior season at Texas A&M.

Champ missed the cut at the season-opening Safeway Open on a sponsor invite, but he told reporters at Mayakoba that advancing to the final stage of Q School - and securing at least some status on the Tour for 2018 - clinched his decision to turn pro.

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"Coming into this week, just a big sigh of relief almost," Champ said. "I kind of know what I'm expecting, I guess, inside my personal self and obviously the course. I'm just very excited to be here and grateful for the opportunity and look forward to it."

Champ will only play this week's event before embarking on the final stage of Q-School next month in Arizona. His results there will go a long way toward dictating his scheduling options for the coming year.

Champ explained that he played a practice round with Rory McIlroy at Erin Hills this summer, but otherwise hasn't had many opportunities to measure his game against some of the world's best players in a head-to-head fashion. He just might have that chance this week in Mexico at the start of what he hopes will be a lengthy pro career.

"I'm a pretty quiet, humble kid, so I don't say much," Champ said. "Whenever I tee off, it kind of says it all."