Cameron Young is already on to bigger and better things.
Long before completing his first semester at Wake Forest, the 18-year-old from Scarborough had captured back-to-back wins. The last Demon Deacon freshman to accomplish that feat was Curtis Strange.
It’s a really big deal.
Even so, Young was anxious to move on after closing out the fall with a win in Hawaii at the Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational.
“Cameron stopped by after the season,” Wake Forest coach Jerry Haas said Wednesday. “He came with a half-page list of things he wanted to work on and I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, we can make your swing look better on camera, but will you be any better?’ Cameron is kind of like the reliever who comes in and throws 100 mph falling of the mound. He’s all over the place, but keeps getting people out. You can’t say, ‘Let’s work on his mechanics.’ He’s just a player.
“At the end of the day, Cameron is a gamer.”
It was likely just a matter of time before winning became part of Young’s new routine.
Of course, nobody likes to wait.
After sticking around to play in the 100th Met Open at Winged Foot, he settled into the dorm with lofty expectations. There were a number of struggles early on in team qualifiers.
“I did not play well at all,” Young said. “It was really tough coming off a busy year and getting here and not being at the top of my game.”
There were no easy answers.
“We were playing a round together at Old Town, our home course, and Cameron wasn’t doing particularly well,” Haas added. “I said, ‘Man, when you’re laying in bed at night, you just have to dream it. You have to believe you’re going to make it and play on the PGA Tour. You have to see it.’ And then I asked, ‘Do you ever do that?’ He turned and looked at me and said, ‘I’ve dreamt that since I was 5 years old.’ It told me right there Cameron knows where he wants to go.”
The initial tournament results were not impressive, but the signs of a turnaround were there. Young tied for 11th at the Rod Meyer Invitational. He tied for 27th at the Primland Collegiate Invitational. He tied for 19th at the Nike Invitational.
Playing a role in three Wake Forest wins and being part of a team currently ranked No. 2 in the country provided some consolation.
“We had a little bit of time between the Nike Invitational and the U.S. Collegiate so I was able to work on some things,” Young said. “I definitely saw a gradual improvement in the way I played. I tried a different mindset going into a couple of those events and it seemed to work better for me.”
So what changed?
“It’s hard to describe,” Young said. “It might be one of those things that only makes sense between my ears.”
He tied for medalist honors in Atlanta, posting a 6-under total of 210 at the U.S. Collegiate Championship, then went to Hawaii and won by two shots with a 15-under total of 201.
Young was named ACC Golfer of the Month for October.
It’s probably worth noting the last Demon Deacon player to win consecutive tournaments was Bill Haas in 2003-04.
“And if you look at his first semester at Wake, it took him four or five events to settle in,” Jerry Haas said of his nephew, who has six PGA Tour wins. “Sometimes a player like that just tries so hard to prove he belongs.
“Cameron is kind of a gym rat. He loves golf. He would play 36 holes a day. He would hit balls on the range.”
Young came to Wake Forest with strong fundamentals, so it took only a minor adjustment to produce results. He now swings less violently without a drop in power.
The resulting ball flight is higher, allowing him to cover 550 yards on a downwind par 5 in Hawaii with a driver and pitching wedge.
Young flew home on Wednesday to collect the Metropolitan Golf Association’s Player of the Year Award. It was an opportunity to publicly thank so many of the people who have aided that dream to one day compete on tour.
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “I remember seeing Cameron Wilson and Mike Miller and David Pastore on the cover of The Met Golfer with all their college gear on, I don’t know how many years ago, but it was before I even considered playing college golf. I remember looking up to those guys and watching how they played, and being able to follow them is pretty cool.”