Rookie leads RBC Heritage

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Cameron Young
  • Post published:April 15, 2022

Cameron Young grabbed eight birdies in an eight-under-par 63 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the RBC Heritage.

Young, playing at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina, for the first time and coming off a missed cut at The Masters, was in the first group off the tee and set an early target no one could match.

He finished the day two shots clear of Chile’s Joaquinn Niemann, who had eight birdies and two bogeys in his afternoon 65.

FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay, Chile’s Mito Pereira, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, Ireland’s Shane Lowry, Canadians Corey Conners and Adam Svensson and Austrian Sepp Straka shared third on 66.

After a two-foot birdie at the par-five 2nd, Young strung together three straight birdies at the 5th, 6th and 7th, and added another at the 9th to make the turn five-under.

Young’s pace slowed coming in, but he added birdies at the 10th and 15th before draining an eight-foot birdie putt at 18.

Young, seeking his first PGA Tour title, said the time he spent practising after missing the cut at Augusta National last week had paid off.

“I hung out with my wife and my son, my in-laws, my parents. We had a house for the week. We just spent some family time there and I practised,” said Young, who has two runner-up finishes this season, the most recent at Riviera in February.

“Just some small swing stuff and kind of got stuff out of sync. Maybe reverted back to some tendencies I’ve had my whole life. Just making some minor fixes just to make it feel like I’m in a little bit more control.”

Conners highlighted his 66 with a hole-in-one on the seventh hole, where his seven-iron from 187 yards gave him his fourth ace in the past three seasons, the most of any player on the PGA Tour.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” he said. “There’s a lot of luck involved to make it.

“I guess, if you hit enough solid iron shots, you’ll get lucky time and time again. So it’s been pretty awesome to have made four.”

Lowry, coming off a tie for third at The Masters, teed off on 10 and had five birdies, including three in a row heading into his turn at 16, 17 and 18.

After two more coming in he missed a short birdie chance at his final hole, the 9th, but was largely pleased with the day.

“I woke up and I couldn’t believe it was Thursday already,” Lowry said. “It was one of those I felt like The Masters was only yesterday, and I felt quite tired.”

Lowry, chasing his first win since the 2019 Open, said playing alongside Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas helped up his energy level in an event he always enjoys after the stress of The Masters.

“It feels almost like a semi-holiday and you just go and play a bit of golf as well,” Lowry said.

Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images