By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay
Rookie Cameron Young, who emerged on the world’s golf stage in May with a tie for third at the PGA, added another impressive performance in a major on Thursday with an eight-under par 64 for the first-round lead in the 150th Open Championship.
Young recorded eight birdies and no bogeys on the par-72 Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland, to take a two-stroke lead over Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, the second-ranked player in the world.
McIlroy shot a 66. Cameron Smith and Robert Dinwiddie were tied for third at 67.
Eight players were locked at 68, including Masters champion and world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, a former University of Texas golfer.
UT-ex Jordan Spieth, who won the Open at Royal Birkdale in 2017, sank a birdie on No. 18 to stop a back-nine slide and finish with a 1-under 71.
Superstar Tiger Woods, playing 17 months after suffering serious injuries in an automobile accident, struggled from the start and finished in the back end of the 156-man field at 78.
Young is a 25-year-old from New York who attended a prep school on the campus at Fordham University and learned the game from his father, David Young, a PGA Tour professional at Sleepy Hollow Country Club.
Cameron Young, who played in college at Wake Fores University, spent most of last year on the developmental-level Korn Ferry Tour.
This year, he’s played a PGA Tour schedule that has included five top-10 finishes, including three seconds. He is ranked 32nd in the world and 18th in the FedEx Cup standings.
Young missed the cut at the Masters in April, finished tied for third at the PGA in May and missed the cut at the U.S. Open in June.
According to media accounts, Young was asked about rising to an elite level in the game after growing up in an area of the United States that isn’t known for its golf.
“It might sound a little improbable, but I’ve been around golf my whole life,” he said, quoted in a story by Jacob Camenker of The Sporting News. “That’s just kind of what I do.”