By Mike Dougherty
Not long after he was upended in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur, Cameron Young was reflecting on the experience of playing in the national spotlight.
“I was fine,” he said Friday evening before flying back from the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Georgia, to begin preparing for next week’s Met Open. “I like this. Some golfers don’t play well with that many people around. I don’t really notice them, and I like playing with the nerves. It makes the ball go farther.”
Young was sent home by Gunn Yang, who capitalized on a fortunate bounce and closed out a 2-up victory when the Fordham Prep senior’s attempt to reach the 18th green ended up in the water.
“Every time I got up in a match this week, I’d hit a bad shot or lose the next hole,” said Young, who was the youngest competitor left in the field. “Today, he was able to hit a few more good shots than I did, and he made some big putts.”
Young had an early lead, winning the second hole with a birdie and the third hole with a par. Yang, a 20-year-old from Korea who plays at San Diego State, came right back and won the fourth hole with a par and the fifth hole with a birdie.
They halved just four holes over the course of the match.
Young had a 1-up lead when he got up and down for a birdie at the 12th hole, but Yang took his first lead with a par on the 14th and a birdie on the 15th.
It was back to all-square when Young came up with a timely birdie at No. 16.
Young lost the 17th hole when he three-putted from 40 feet over a ridge, and Yang caught a break on the 18th hole when his drive on the 460-yard par-4 hit a rock wall that lines a lengthy pond on the left side of the fairway and tumbled forward into the fairway.
“I don’t know where it actually went,” Yang said in the media tent afterward. “But it was, actually it went hard and it was about like 135 (yards from the pin). So I was so happy with that.”
The drive put more pressure on Young, who is a Wake Forest recruit, to make a birdie in order to extend the match. He wound up in the trees down the right side, and escaped with a creative 6-iron approach that caught the wall fronting the green and ricocheted into the water.
(Photos: John Mummert/USGA)