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Alex Coogan-Reeves: Cambo win not far away


By Alex Coogan-Reeves

Published: 1:29PM Thursday January 31, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

New Zealand golf has a new number one and potentially a new golfing hero and it's a name you might have heard before.

Michael Campbell officially reclaimed his rightful position as New Zealand's top male golfer this week as he usurped Danny Lee on the world golf rankings.

The 2005 US Open champion now sits at 239th in the world, three places ahead of Lee who has failed to truly deliver on the potential he showed as a teenager winning the US Amateur in 2008.

Don't get me wrong, Cambo's current ranking is a long way from his halcyon days, when he was ranked 13th in the world following his dream season in 2005.

However, it is still a long way ahead of where he has been in the years since, when he fell out of the top-900 and, despite his incredible achievements, become a national sporting punchline.

What the 43-year-old has shown in the last six months, where he has only finished outside the top-30 once, is enough to convince this writer that Cambo 2.0 has what it takes to win again.

That's right, I believe Michael Campbell will win another tournament on one of the world's top two tours. Writing that sentence a year ago would have been a preposterous proposition, but now it doesn't seem so absurd.

Improved mental game

At least some of the credit for Cambo's return to form must go to coach Jonathan Yarwood who he reunited with last year after three years apart.

Like any top coach, Yarwood is quick to deflect praise back to his charge, but it can't be purely coincidental.

Yarwood said that Campbell has made many changes to his game and not just on a swing, with an improved mental game helping him get back to where he once was.

However Cambo himself will be the first to admit he's not quite there yet, with a few recent final round fades stopping him from re-entering the winner's circle in recent months.

Campbell remained in contention until the final round at the Qatar Masters before carding a two over par 74 to claim a share of 16th place.

"Naturally, it was a disappointing way to end the tournament especially after three straight rounds of 68," he said on his website

"It just seems recently that the fourth and final round of a tournament hasn't been all that kind to me and that was the scenario last Saturday. But despite that final day I took a lot of positives away from the week."

He will have another chance to taste that winning feeling when he tees it up at the Dubai Desert Classic tonight.

"After the way I have been playing golf's now really enjoyable and I'm excited to get going and that's something I've only been able to say in the last few months.

"I've played here for many years so the main goal is just to keep the momentum going and hopefully it will lead to success."

Campbell tees off at 5:15pm (NZT) tonight.