Cameron Young stays hot and shares the first lead at Memorial | Sports news

Author: DOUG FERGUSON, writer of AP Golf

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) – Just being at the memorial was a reminder of how far Cameron Young has come in the last year. The share of the first lead was another example of how well he plays.

In his first start since the challenging PGA Championship, Young finished two birdies on his last three holes in 5 under 67 in the rain-softened Muirfield Village.

He drew with Luke List, Cameron Smith and KH Lee, all of whom won the PGA Tour this season. Young is still striving for it and is still giving himself a chance.

A year ago, the son of a club professional achieved several consecutive victories on the Korn Ferry Tour, which moved him about 300 places in the world rankings to 170th place. He is now in 30th place with five places in the top three. three times in second place in his rookie season.

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The last time it was in Southern Hills was when Young shared the lead on the 14th tee in the final round of the PGA. His chances ended with a double bogey at sixteen.

And then he was right back at Memorial, playing a 15-foot eagle on the 15th pair on the way to 31 on his opening nine holes, overcoming several bogeys in the top nine and ending another good day. with a 30-foot birdie putt.

“I think we knew what was possible, but I think I’ve improved a lot this season as well,” said Young. “And doing it well is a lot easier.” If I really struggled to keep my card for next year, I think it would be much harder. Because I was in the lead and then ended up high a few times, I think the level of comfort increased and I was able to continue. “

The greens were solid during training and still spun well, although players could aim for flags due to sufficient rain and clouds. It took some adjustment. Muirfield Village was still hard enough that the bogey was easy to find.

The letter, which won its first victory at Torrey Pines in January, had only one bogey out of 67. Smith was slowed down by several bogeys in the top nine after the turn. Lee broke through from the fairway to no. 9 on the eagle, only to follow the bogey with his back to him.

Will Zalatoris, who lost to the PGA Championship with Thomas, had eight birdies in his 68-match round and wasn’t sure what to make of his round.

“I didn’t think 68 with eight birdies was in the cards when I came out on Monday, Tuesday,” Zalatoris said.

He quickly found the difference, a wedge on the 13th hole that landed near the flag and turned 15 feet back. Earlier this week, he saw such shots get into trouble on the green.

What helped under any circumstances was his wanderings. Zalatoris and 11 consecutive greens on one putt, one of those behind the bogey, until the series ended when he missed a 12-meter birdie putt on the fourth pair of 3.

Defending champion Patrick Cantlay did not find nearly as many birdies as everyone else in the morning wave, only two birdies against two bogeys for a par 72. Collin Morikawa, who lost to Cantlay in the playoffs last year at the Memorial. two birdies for 71.

The afternoon was played by Jon Rahm, who had a lead of six shots after 54 holes last year before having to check out for a positive test for COVID-19.

Young recalls meeting Jack Nicklaus, the tournament host, at Pebble Beach in 2019 at the US Open, when he qualified for his first major as an amateur. It was exceptional for at least one of them.

“I’m sure you wouldn’t remember,” Young said. “He was coming at me and I said, ‘Hi, I’m Cameron.’ And he was very nice. He greeted and moved on. But I was nobody. I just dropped out of college. So that’s really the only time I’ve been able to communicate with him. “

Nicklaus is always on the 18th green on Sunday to shake hands with the winner. That would be memorable.

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