Hilton Head Island, SC ( Associated Press) — Cameron Young showed that going down at the Harbor Town Golf Links doesn’t always require years of practice, shooting 8-under 63 in the first round on Thursday in his RBC Heritage debut. to take the lead.
The 24-year-old PGA Tour rookie had eight birdies in a bogie-free round, his first time in the 60s in 11 rounds going back to a finish 65 at the Honda Classic more than six weeks ago.
Young was two shots in front of Chile’s Joaquin Nieman and three ahead of seven others, including FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantley, Ireland’s Shane Lowry – who finished third at last week’s Masters – and Canada’s Cory Connors – who at the Augusta Nationals. was in sixth place. ,
Mito Pereira of Chile, RBC Heritage winner Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, Adam Svensson of Canada and Sepp Straka of Austria also scored 66 runs. The 67 had 10 players, including 48-year-old defending champion Stewart Sink.
Young had only heard of Harbor Town’s tight, tree-lined fairway and treacherous gauntlet of tiny greens that demand precision. Nevertheless, the former New York Wake Forest player quickly took to the layout with five birdies on the ninth front.
Young closed out his first Harbor Tour with a birdie on the iconic 18th hole – with the red and white striped lighthouse as a backdrop – to finish a shot at his lowest career round 8 in his youth PGA Tour career. -With foot putt. ,
“You really have to pick your spots where you think you can be a little aggressive and where you can’t,” Young said.
A little advice: Be aggressive, especially when chasing a loaded RBC legacy field. The tournament featured five of the world’s top 10 players, including Masters third-place finishers Cameron Smith and Colin Morikawa, who finished fifth at the Augusta Nationals.
Masters Champion Scotty Scheffler is not playing RBC Heritage.
Neiman started slowly with back-to-back bogeys on the third and fourth holes. He then birdied seven of the last 14 holes and crashed out of a third-place logjam.
2019 British Open champion Lowry said she couldn’t believe how quickly the round came after the pressure cooker at Augusta National. Nevertheless, he finished his round with Calibogue Sound with three straight birdies in the 16th, 17th and 18th holes. He added two more birdies in his bogey-free round.
“It almost feels like a half-holiday and you just play a little bit of golf too,” said Lowry, who had two Top 10 finishes here in his last four appearances.
Conners said Par-3 Seventh Hole, He hit the 7-iron in front of the green, where it sprang twice and rolled into the cup. The Conners couldn’t see it falling off the tee, but knew from the green’s reaction.
“A bunch of people put their hands around the green, so I thought it went in,” he said.
Morikawa, ranked second in the world, opened with 70. Smith, whose triple bogey on the 12th hole in Augusta ended the Masters chase, scored 73.
Webb Simpson, the winner of 2020, was 3 overs late in his round when he reeled five straight birdies (Nos. 14-18) on a difficult back nine for 69.
Morgan Hoffman made his first PGA Tour round appearance since October 2019 after withdrawing due to muscular dystrophy. Hoffman shot an entertaining, easy, even 71. “The game was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be, so it was very exciting,” he said.
All are chasing Young, who has proven he is much more than a wide-eyed badass, but with a steady game and steely nerves.
He took two seconds this season and qualified for the Masters, where he missed the cut after 77 in a row. Young spent the weekend with family, decompressing from the Masters, and planning ahead.
“Honestly, I wanted to play last weekend,” Young said. “But in the context of this week, (missing the cut) is not the end of the world.”
Especially if he can score some more 63. Don’t bet on that, Young said.
“I know it will be really cool,” he said. “But you have good days and bad days and rarely do you have four good days in a row. I’m glad it came early and I’m glad I held myself up for the entire tournament.