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Cam Young is Thinking About the W, and He’s Not Afraid to Say It

SILVIS, Ill. — Cameron Young was not averse to thinking ahead to the winner’s circle come Sunday after securing the midway lead at the John Deere Classic after shooting a 7-under 64 on Friday.

Coupled with an opening-round 65, Young stands at 13-under for the tournament and holds a narrow lead as the afternoon wave of play finishes.

Young has been thinking about capturing his first PGA TOUR win long before securing last year’s Rookie of the Year honors with a standout campaign that featured five runner-up finishes, including a solo second at The Open Championship at St. Andrews.

Why not say so now?

“I feel like you can be thinking about it without it being a bad thing,” the 26-year-old former Wake Forest University standout said in a moment of candor. “I think everybody came here this week to win a golf tournament, and in that way you’re all thinking about it right off the bat.

“Obviously I’m in a better position than you find yourself most weeks to do that, but that just really means I’m kind of accomplishing my goals thus far this week and doing my job well. So that’s all I can try to keep doing.”

Young did his job well from the start on Friday, opening the round with birdies on his first three holes on the back nine at TPC Deere Run and closing his eight-birdie, one-bogey day with a 171-yard approach to within 4 feet of a tough pin on the challenging ninth.

When rookie playing partner Ludvig Aberg, who matched Young’s 7-under day to get 10-under for the tournament, told him, ‘Nice shot,’ Young’s penchant for candor arose again.

“I was aiming nowhere near there,” he said. “It was kind of awful, but it worked out awesome. It’s one of those things that happen when it’s going well.”

Things have certainly been working out better for Young this week than they have in a while. Since a runner-up finish in the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play the last week of March and a T7 at the Masters two weeks later, Young has been searching for success.

His best finish in seven subsequent starts was T32 at the U.S. Open.

Veteran caddie Paul Tesori, who first took the young star’s bag at the Match Play event in Austin, Texas, credited his Deere Run resurgence to a recent week off in Florida. Young spent the time working on his game with father and longtime swing coach, David Young.

“He’s been working really, really hard on his putting,” Tesori told PGA TOUR.com. “It hasn’t shown necessarily in his results yet, but he’s worked hard. He’s worked hard with mechanics, his swing, worked hard on drills. He’s done all the things you want to do. The hard part is trying to stay patient and wait for the results to come.”

Certainly, Young’s putting work is paying dividends this week: He gained 4.5 strokes on the field on the greens through the first two rounds — but he also hasn’t put much stress on the flat stick. Seven of Friday’s birdies came from 10 feet and in.

Young’s position on the midway leaderboard befits his standing at TPC Deere Run. At No. 19 in the Official World Golf Rankings, he is the highest ranked player in the field by 10 spots. But, as he noted early in the week, no one’s spotting him shots.

“I know that every week there’s 150 other guys that are really, really good at golf trying to beat you,” he said. “That part of it doesn’t really do anything mentally for me.”

It doesn’t hurt to have Tesori at his side. Before a 12-plus-year stint with Webb Simpson, the veteran caddie was part of TPC Deere Run wins with Vijay Singh (2003) and Sean O’Hair (2005).

Although this week marks Young’s first start in Silvis, however, neither player nor caddie see that as a special advantage either. Two rounds with Simpson last year were Tesori’s first exposure to the golf course in a decade, and the big-hitting Young is attacking from places Tesori never previously had been.

Tesori said the partnership has been work in progress.

“It has been harder than I thought it would be,” he said. “Having 12 years with Webb, there’s some things that were automatic to me. But Cam likes things done differently than Webb. It’s a different kind of communication he wants. Our first two events when things were going well, it was easy. As we struggled, I feel like there’s times I could have helped more and haven’t been able to.”

Still, said Young, “I feel like we’re really getting there. All in all, it has been amazing, and he works so hard and knows so much, he has turned into a huge resource for me. I trust him.”

He also trusts that a long-dreamt-of visit to the winner’s circle isn’t far away. Although six runner-up finishes in the past two years have heightened his hunger, he hasn’t lost sleep over missed opportunities.

“None of them bother me, and I don’t feel like I’ve had a tournament in my hands,” he said. “Mostly what I take from those is just knowing I’m very close. Finishing second, you’re playing good enough golf to win a PGA TOUR event. Keep working on the same stuff and getting better, and eventually things will go the other way.”

Source : PGA Tour