Cameron Young did all you could do as a rookie last season but win. He raked in five runner-up finishes and three third-place finishes.
A T-40th at The American Express was far down on the highlight reel, but it got him back in the money after missing the cut the week prior at the Sony Open in Hawaii
Young was in the top five entering Sunday thanks to an opening 8-under 64 at La Quinta, 4-under 68 at Nicklaus, and 3-under 69 at Stadium. The Stadium looked as menacing to Young on Sunday of 2022 as it did to the entire PGA Tour in the 1980s.
He made two double-bogeys, including one on the par-5 fifth, and sputtered to a closing 77.
On the bright side, it may have taught him some lessons. For one, that it wasn’t always so easy to stick in contention as he did in taking T-2nd in his second start of the season at the Sanderson Farms Championship.
Secondly, he could still take away that he’s got the game to beat the world’s best as long as he can cut down on the mistakes.
Young didn’t miss another cut for two months.
Fast forward to today, he’s the reigning runner-up at The Open Championship, Rookie of the Year, and a member of the victorious American Presidents Cup team.
The Wake Forest product took third place in December at the ultra-exclusive Hero World Challenge and T-13th a couple weeks ago at the almost-as-exclusive Sentry Tournament of Champions.
He’s already of the stature where he can skip events like the Sony on courses that don’t fit his game.
Palm Springs’ three courses in play this week are more up Young’s alley.
The 25-year-old New Yorker was second on the PGA Tour last season in strokes gained per round (.914) and was third in driving distance (319.3).
Young has the ability to catch fire, ranking sixth in birdie average (4.41), but a balky putter has also kept good rounds from becoming great.