Champ only one back at RSM Classic despite slow starts

Charles Howell III plays the 2018 RSM Classic with new clubs

Nick Watney of Davis and Fresno State is four shots back in solo fourth after a 67 that included three straight birdies at the finish, while Ryan Blaum shot 65 and is one more down in a tie for fifth with David Hearn (66) of Canada and southpaw Brian Harman (68).

"I'm rolling the ball the best I ever had, and I'm also hitting quality shots", Champ said. Ten players are within five shots of the lead, a list that includes Sea Island resident Zach Johnson, who had a 65.

Howell is yet to make a bogey at the tournament and he has missed just two fairways across the opening two days. Came here, I like it here, I didn't really know what to expect and then this happens. Gore, who also had a 63 on Seaside, was planning to be at Pebble Beach until getting an exemption Sunday night to the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year. Gore, who only a few weeks ago became certified to sell insurance in California, overcame a missed tap-in at the turn with three birdies and an 18-foot eagle putt over his next six holes and shot 66.

Playing on a sponsor's invitation, the 44-year-old Gore posted his lowest round on tour since his career-low 62 in the third round of the 2015 Wyndham Championship. Gore is a part-time insurance salesman and part-time comedian who still loves the chance to compete.

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It was hard for him not to be impressed with Champ, who mainly hit his strong 3-iron off the tee and continued to show poise for his limited experience. As many golf tournaments as I've played, this is still relatively new for me. "This is the best I've ever putted". "Tomorrow I am going to need a low round again and hopefully the rain holds off". "Even some of the silly mistakes I made, I just haven't really let them get to me".

"I chose to just get in the fairway, just give myself looks on the greens, and that's been paying off so far", Champ said.

Howell says one problem he has battled is thinking too far ahead and trying too hard. "Well, it could change my life, but I'm not going to look at it that way, how about that?"

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