Cameron Young from the Sleepy Hollow Country Club tees off on the second hole during the afternoon round of the Hochster Memorial Golf tournament at the Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, June 12, 2012. ( Mark Vergari/The Journal News ) To view a gallery of photos from the tournament, click here.
SCARSDALE — It’s practically a ritual, joking about Cameron Young’s bed time after the 15-year-old collects another piece of crystal.
He left more heads shaking on Tuesday, outplaying a prestigious field to win the 75th Hochster Memorial Tournament at Quaker Ridge by two shots. The phenom from Sleepy Hollow Country Club who plays the game with the wisdom of a mid-am finished with a 5-over 145 total in conditions that rewarded patience and maturity.
Young is believed to be the youngest winner in the event’s history.
“This is a good one,” said Young, whose competitive resume already includes Westchester Am, Carter Cup and New York State Federation wins. “It’s a great one to be part of.”
It’s probably the strongest field Young has ever outlasted.
Shorehaven’s Tommy McDonagh and Colonial Springs’ Matthew Lowe tied for second. Knollwood’s Mike Miller and Winged Foots’ Colin McDade were the next locals on the leaderboard, tying for sixth at 151.
“He’s got a lot of potential,” said David Szewczul, who played with Young after taking a one-shot lead into the second round. “He’s playing a very controlled game.”
And that suits Quaker Ridge. Young made some noise at this event last year, opening with a 72. And then he was humbled after lunch, carding an 81 to finish tied for 14th place. The lessons Young learned were applied this time around.
He’s relying on a certain amount of good fortune, too.
In the last year, Young has grown three or four inches and now stands a little over 5-foot-9. He filled out, too, and is hitting the ball significantly longer. There’s a certain amount of guesswork each time Young pulls a club.
“I don’t know how far anything goes, really,” he said.
Young came in Tuesday for lunch with a 2-over 72, and when Szewczul, the reigning Connecticut Senior Amateur champion stumbled, he was suddenly atop the leaderboard. The cushion was two strokes before he chipped a ball off the back of the 13th green and took a bogey on the long par 3.
There was more trouble at the 14th, but he got up and down from a greenside bunker to salvage par, inspiring a jolt of confidence along with a celebratory dance from his caddie.
“He actually was a caddie at Hudson National when my dad worked there so he’s known me since I was like 3,” said Young, who’s the son of Sleepy Hollow pro Dave Young.
A birdie at the 15th, a short par 4, made the final holes easier. Young had three strokes to play with after Lowe closed with a 71 to match the lowest round of the day and posted a 147.
“Emotionally, he’s a flat-line kid,” Quaker Ridge head pro Rick Vershure said. “That’s a good state to play golf in. … We knew last year he was going to win this sooner or later.”
Before the prizes were handed out, the club took time and recognized the 75th playing of the Hochster Memorial with noted golf historian and member Martin Davis interviewing a panel of past champions that included Dick Siderowf, George Zahringer III, Ken Bakst and Alan Small.
“I remember just wanting to play in the Hochster,” said Bakst, a three-time winner. “And you really have to talk about how gracious Quaker Ridge is to host this event. They’ve been a model for giving back to the game. … It’s one of the best golf courses in the world, so to come here for 36 holes year in and year out is a treat, a real privilege.”