Cameron Young back at St. Andrews as pro, opens with a 64

Jul 14, 2022, 6:30 PM
Cameron Young of the US plays from the 3rd tee during the first round of the British Open golf cham...

Cameron Young of the US plays from the 3rd tee during the first round of the British Open golf championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland, Thursday, July 14 2022. The Open Championship returns to the home of golf on July 14-17, 2022, to celebrate the 150th edition of the sport's oldest championship, which dates to 1860 and was first played at St. Andrews in 1873. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — The first time Cameron Young played the Old Course at St. Andrews was one of his best moments in golf. The most recent one was even better.

In his British Open debut, Young plotted his way around the course in a gentle breeze and finished with a long two-putt birdie for an 8-under 64 for a two-shot lead over Rory McIlroy among the earlier starters.

Young, whose father is the longtime pro at Sleepy Hollow in New York, first came to Scotland in 2010 when he was 13. He played some of the fabled courses in the area — St. Andrews, Carnoustie, North Berwick — not knowing then that he would even pursue a career in golf.

“Any time you set foot on the first tee or 18th green or anywhere, there’s just no hiding how special of a place it is,” Young said. “And it’s certainly been a goal to get to an Open Championship. And for my first one to be here is a little bit extra special for me.”

He’s not even sure he played his best for his opening round. His tee shots weren’t always going where he was looking. But in his short time back at St. Andrews, he learned enough about where to go and how to play the centuries-old course to get by just fine.

Young went out in 31. He drove over the green on the par-4 12th, pitched back to 8 feet and holed it for birdie to reach 7-under par. A record score at St. Andrews on a good day for scoring was within reach.

But he three-putted for par on the 14th. His 10-foot birdie chance on the 15th spun out of the cup. He missed another good chance from 15 feet on the next hole.

Even so, the 25-year-old New Yorker had few complaints. He loves links golf.

“I don’t think I’ve figured that much of it out, honestly,” Young said. “You could play every day here for a year and you would just scratch the surface of what you can know about this place. There’s so many humps and bounds and little nuances to the golf course that we could never know in the four or five days that I’ve had to prepare.”

As for that trip? He still has great memories, none that top St. Andrews.

“My dad asked for permission to play from the back tees. I think that’s something you have to do, if I remember correctly,” he said. “So when we came out to hit our first tee shots with the R&A building right there, there were a bunch of R&A members presumably watching. And I’m glad I didn’t know. I’m sure I would have been nervous out of my mind.”

It’s hard to detect a pulse from Young now. He has been around the game long enough to realize not to get too far ahead. This is an ideal start, and for now, that’s all it is.

“I’m happy I shot 64. I’m happy that, as far as I know, I’m still leading The Open Championship, but it’s not going to change how I feel an hour from now,” he said.

His rookie year on the PGA Tour is among the best, though Young is not satisfied because he hasn’t won. He was just inside the top 500 in the world a year ago. Now he is No. 32, thanks to four top-three finishes, including at the PGA Championship, where he finished one shot out of a playoff at Southern Hills.

Now he can only hope for another chance in the year’s final major.

His father, David Young, is a master professional with the PGA of America. He thought the trip to Scotland was critical in his son finding a real passion for golf.

“It rained like the first four days we were there, and I have these pictures of him wearing my raingear down to his knees, soaking wet,” David Young said at the PGA Championship. “I’m thinking, ‘After this trip, this kid is never going to want to play golf again.’ But it did just the opposite. It got him excited about it.”

Penguin Air

General News

Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres looks on during the second inning of a baseball game...
Associated Press

Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. suspended 80 games for positive drug test

San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. was suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball on Friday.
2 days ago
Chicago Cubs' Nelson Velazquez celebrates with Patrick Wisdom (16) after scoring in the fourth inni...
Associated Press

Chicago Cubs outlast Cincinnati Reds in ‘Field of Dreams’ game

The Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 on Thursday night in Major League Baseball’s second annual “Field of Dreams” game.
3 days ago
Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds players walk onto the field before a baseball game at the Field of...
Wills Rice

‘Field of Dreams’ game features throwback uniforms and logos

The Cubs took on the Reds Thursday in the second "Field of Dreams" game showing their throwback uniforms in the cornfields of Iowa.
3 days ago
Serena Williams, of the United States, returns the ball during a match with Nuria Parrizas-Diaz, of...
Associated Press

Serena Williams, still in Canadian Open, about to move ‘away from tennis’

Serena Williams is ready to step away from tennis, turning her focus to having another child and her businesses.
5 days ago
Joohyoung Kim, right, of South Korea, reacts after winning the Wyndham Championship golf tournament...
Associated Press

20-year-old Joohyung Kim wins Wyndham Championship Sunday

Joohyung Kim won the Wyndham Championship on Sunday to become the second-youngest winner on the PGA Tour since World War II.
7 days ago
(Twitter Photo/Phoenix Mercury)...
Associated Press

Mercury beat Liberty despite Ionescu’s milestone night

The Phoenix Mercury cruised past the New York Liberty 76-62 on Saturday night, despite missing guards Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith.
8 days ago
Cameron Young back at St. Andrews as pro, opens with a 64