Cameron Young’s first Open Championship finished with a roar — an eagle two at the 72nd hole that put a bit of pressure on winner Cam Smith — but Young put on a show to remember although his closing 65 was overshadowed by Smith’s amazing back-nine run to the championship.
Young, in his rookie season, has shown he can handle the big stage and he’ll look back at a couple of holes and know he was oh so very close to pulling off a huge upset at the season’s final major.
He’ll look back at the nervous three-putt for bogey on the first hole then a second on the ninth, a hole where birdies were basically given away.
“I handled it pretty well,” Young said after finishing solo second at 19-under par. “At this point, not as much as some of those other guys, but I’ve at least been around the lead a lot this year. And the more I put myself there, as I think I said at the PGA, one of these times I’ll shoot five-under on the back and that will be enough.”
Young, after shooting two-under over the first nine, was three-under heading into the 72nd hole. He hit an incredible tee shot that stopped 25 feet from the cup, putting some pressure on Smith. “Today I did (shoot five-under coming home), and it wasn’t. I guess one of these times I’ll shoot six-under on the back on Sunday and that will be enough.
“It probably hurts a little worse to come up one shot short,” he continued. “If you lose by eight you don’t really care. But I played well today. I would have signed up for 65 this morning.”
Young trailed by two going down the 18th and though he kept Smith on his toes with that amazing eagle, he did not expect it to be enough against Smith, whose short game prowess was on full display all afternoon.
“The way Cameron Smith chips and putts, I didn’t really think he would make a four,” Young observed. “I was just trying to get it there and give myself some kind of look, because obviously you never know. But just based on how he was playing and how that hole sets up, there was a very, very good chance that two wasn’t going to be enough.
“I tried as much as I could. Watching him make a million birdies in a row is in one sense good because it pushes you, and in another sense it’s hard to watch because you see him making putts, knowing that he’s kind of beating you,” Young pointed out.
“I had a front-row seat to I’m sure one of the better rounds that’s been played this year but I stuck to my plan and the process of what had gotten me there really well.”
Young has locked up Rookie Of The Year honors on the PGA Tour and he’s shooting up in the Official World Golf Rankings. At the end of 2021, he was No. 134 in the world. He was 32nd coming into this week and his finish could push him into the top 20 when the new rankings come out this week.
Chez Reavie Takes Barracuda:
Chez Reavie made a clutch 12-footer for birdie on the short 16th hole Sunday and won the Barracuda Championship.
Reavie scored 43 total points in the stableford scoring system and edged runner-up Alex Noren by a single point. It was a quiet day for Reavie as he scored only six points thanks to four birdies and two bogeys. This was Reavie’s third PGA Tour win.
Noren made a hard charge and shot 65 but came up a point short. Noren was in St. Andrews at the beginning of the week as he was first alternate for the 150th Open Championship. He left on Tuesday for the Barracuda then found out Justin Rose withdrew from the championship on Wednesday.
Still, Noren made the best of his appearance.
Martin Laird finished solo third with 36 points.