By Mike Dougherty
GREENWICH, CONN. — There are still a couple of swings each round that finish with a quizzical stare, but Cameron Young appears to be over a nagging shoulder injury that forced him to press pause earlier in the summer.
He weighed on each and every opponent in the 96th Met Junior Championship this week at Fairview Country Club like the oppressive heat.
The 16-year-old junior at Fordham Prep was rolling in birdies from every angle. He didn’t even see the 15th hole until the semifinals. Young captured his first noteworthy win in nearly a year, posting a 3-and-1 victory over Jeremy Wall in the final at Fairview Country Club.
And yes, there was an immediate sigh of relief.
Young was habitually posing with trophies and making speeches after winning invitational after invitational after invitational last summer.
“It was very hard (staying patient), especially not being able to play for a while,” he said. “This is turning very quickly what could’ve been not a great summer into a really good one, qualifying for the U.S. Junior, and then U.S. Am on Monday and then playing great in this one.”
Both of the finalists are flying to Lake Tahoe, Calif., on Friday and will be playing in the U.S. Junior Amateur.
Young also qualified for next month’s U.S. Amateur on Monday, which required 36 holes at Rolling Hills Country Club to start the week. He was able to put the feet up more than most in the Met Junior field, but still played 87 holes.
“I’ll be glad to go to bed tonight,” he said.
Young started the day with an electric 3-and-1 win over Wake Forest signee Clancy Waugh that included a string of birdies from both players. Wall, a 16-year-old from Brielle, N.J., dismissed Jacob Henry by the same margin.
They stopped long enough to enjoy some air-conditioning with lunch.
Young was up early in the match, but went down a hole when his drive on No. 5 flared right, went off the cart path and vanished in the woods. He squared the match with a par on the next hole, and then went 1-up with a birdie from nine feet on No. 7.
It was a 2-up advantage after Wall took a bogey on the eighth hole.
Young felt a little more heat when his opponent rolled in a birdie at No. 10, but he promptly birdied the remaining par 5s to go 3-up after 13 holes.
“Cameron was just hitting better shots than I was,” Wall said. “He was hitting more greens and maybe that wore me down, I don’t know, but it was hard to come back. He deserves it because I just didn’t have it in that round.”
Young lost the 14th and was losing steam at the end of the round, but he kept making pars to hang on.
“I played very well these three days and I’m very happy,” he said. “I really wasn’t expecting it because I’ve been struggling a little bit. It’s just not the feeling I normally have, but I hit it better than I thought I could.”