Michael Campbell's father detects change

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 05:00 16/10/2012
Michael Campbell
Getty Images
CASHING IN: Michael Campbell recorded his first top-three finish on the European Tour in more than four years at the Portugal Masters.

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Tom Campbell has a simple explanation for his son Michael's form turnaround which earned his best result in four years - a $220,000 cheque.

"Perseverance, I suppose, and he didn't want to go back to being a telephone technician," he quipped after an all-nighter on the couch in Titahi Bay watching Michael Campbell finish third in the Portugal Masters. Aside from avoiding his former trade, a proud father pinpointed two essential factors for his son's result in Vilamoura.

Firstly, Campbell's move to a new base in Spain, and then being reunited with his longtime coach Jonathan Yarwood in recent months after three years apart.

"He's now settled in Spain, that's where he's going to reside. They were in Switzerland three months ago and now he's bought a place and the kids are settled at school," Tom Campbell said.

"He can just go out there and play now. He's living on a golf resort and all the facilities are there, and Jonathan has moved from the US to the UK so it's easy access to his coach. It's been a good settling down period."

Tom Campbell texted his son congratulations and they were planning to talk overnight.

"I'm pretty happy for him. It's been a bit of a struggle over the last four or five years, and for him to keep going was quite encouraging."

It means Campbell, 43, will likely miss the New Zealand Open at Clearwater in Christchurch from November 22-25. It clashes with the rich Dubai world championship for the top-60 on the Race to Dubai standings. While Campbell (now 86th) was not yet assured, his father said a homecoming was not planned.

"He's not coming back to New Zealand this summer. He's playing a couple of the Aussie tournaments in December and that's when we're catching up in Sydney. We'll have Christmas together then he'll head back to Spain and start on the tour a bit earlier."

Campbell's previous best result was a third placing in the British Masters in September 2008, which earned him about € 2000 (NZ$3170) more than yesterday.

Some dreadful results occurred since, but Campbell's father sensed a turnaround when watching him play the US Open in June, the tournament he famously won in 2005. Campbell snared two top-15 finishes in six tournaments before yesterday's, when he carded a 12-under-par total of 272, two shots behind the winner, Ireland's Shane Lowry.

Campbell said he felt surprisingly calm, being in contention for victory for the first time in a while.

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"I came here with no expectations really. I just wanted to have some fun."

Meanwhile, a triple bogey at the par-five 15th ended Kiwi No 1 Danny Lee's hopes of challenging for the title at the Frys.com Open on the PGA Tour in California yesterday. The 22-year-old bounced back to birdie the 17th and 18th holes but it was too late, an even-par 71 seeing him tie for 16th at 10-under par.

Although being his best result on tour this year, it has has done little for Lee's hopes of retaining his playing card next year.

He is 167th and needs to finish inside the top 125 to avoid a trip to qualifying school.

- Canterbury

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