By Ed Osmond
ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Reuters) – Cameron Young was the surprise British Open first-round leader who refused to go away quietly.
The American world number 32 scorched round St Andrews to card an opening 64 and lead the Open on his first appearance at the tournament.
Many people expected Young to struggle to cope with the pressure of being on a leaderboard packed with some of the biggest names in the sport.
But the 25-year-old hung in with rounds of 69 and 71 before eagling the last hole on Sunday to complete a superb 65 and finish runner-up to Australian Cameron Smith.
“I gave myself a really nice chance,” Young told reporters. “Frustrating to come up short. But overall I think I had a really good week. And I think I hung in there really well today.
“It probably hurts a little worse to come up one shot short,” he said. “If you lose by eight you don’t really care. But I played well today. And I would have signed up for 65 this morning.”
Young enjoyed seeing Smith put together the final-round 64 which secured his first major title.
“To watch Cameron shoot what he did, it was pretty amazing,” Young said.
“I had a front-row seat to I’m sure one of the better rounds that’s been played this year. And we both started four back of two guys that are capable of as much if not more than just about everybody else in the world.
“Today is just more proof that Cameron Smith is one of the very, very best players in the world.”
Young knew his only chance of forcing a playoff was to eagle the final hole.
“The way Cameron Smith chips and putts, I didn’t really think he would make a four,” he said.
“I was just trying to get it there and trying to give myself some kind of look, because obviously you never know. But just based on how he was playing and kind of how that hole sets up, I think there’s a very, very good chance that two wasn’t going to be enough.”
It wasn’t enough, but Young believes his day will come.
“I guess one of these times I’ll shoot six on the back on Sunday and that will be enough,” he said.
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)