Golf: Cambo happy to be back in contention

By Kris Shannon

The Michael Campbell comeback tour continued in Qatar overnight, leaving the Kiwi in with a real chance of winning his first tournament in eight years.

Campbell carded his third successive four under par round at the Qatar Masters, enough to be in a share of second place heading into tonight's final round at the Doha Golf Club.

The 43-year-old last tasted victory at the World Match Play in 2005 - the same year as his US Open triumph - before beginning a downward spiral which even saw him slip out of the top 900 players in the world.

But Campbell started something of a renaissance late last year on the European Tour, recording a third-placed finish in Portugal and a tie for eighth in Hong Kong, and he has carried that form into the new season.

He secured a top-20 finish at the Abu Dhabi Championship last week, his first tournament of the year, before kicking on to bigger and better things in Qatar.

Campbell explained how he has been playing with renewed belief in 2013, with something as simple as a smile playing a key role in his revival.

"Six months ago, I was desperate," he told the European Tour. "I think I made two cuts in about two years, 18 months or something, and now I have a chance of winning a couple times last year and maybe [tonight].

"We are just going back to what is working and what worked before, and going back with my coach Jonathan Yarwood six months ago definitely helped.

"That's really one thing I've been working the last six months - just smile after each round of golf, whether it's a good one or a bad one, and it's working so far."

It could have been even better for Campbell on moving day, after a birdie blitz on the front nine saw him keep pace with Englishman Chris Wood. But he was unable to replicate his hot putting on the back nine and, as a result, trails Wood by three shots ahead of tonight's final round.

"Once again, four under after ten holes and just couldn't hole a putt on the last eight holes," he said. "It's been frustrating, but it's just one of those things.

"At this time last year, I was packing my bags and going home, so I can't complain about that. Being three shots behind with one round to go, it's definitely nice to be in this situation.

"It's just nice to be out here and having some fun at the same time and maybe have a chance of winning. I think when a title is definitely reachable, expectations are obviously quite high and I want to do well this weekend or tomorrow, and if I don't, no big deal, you've got next week.

"All I can do is just control my own game, control my own destiny and see what happens."

Campbell will soon know for sure, with the leaders set to tee off shortly after 10pm.

- APNZ

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