Men’s golf alumnus Cameron Young places top-10 at the Masters

Young’s six-under-par performance earns him 7th place


Courtesy of WFU Athletics

Cameron Young prepares to hit the ball.

Ian Steffensen, Sports Editor

The 87th Masters Tournament promised to dazzle and entertain, as the world’s top golfers competed for the coveted green jacket. In the talented field of golfers, Wake Forest alumni Cameron Young and Will Zalatoris competed to earn the green jacket and title of Masters champion. The two Demon Deacons fought long and hard against a course that provides the hardest challenge for any golfer, but ultimately it was Spaniard Jon Rahm who came out on top. 

Zalatoris had been on a tear, finishing top-10 in three of the four majors last season. Augusta National had been a course that suited his game, as he came one stroke shy of winning the Masters on his debut in 2021. However, after winning his first PGA Tour event last season back in August, Zalatoris suffered a back injury during the BMW Championship and was forced to withdraw from the FedEx Cup Playoffs. He was able to return to action at the start of the season but continued to battle back pain. Before the first round of the Masters on Thursday, Zalatoris pulled out of the event, and on Monday, he announced he would have season-ending back surgery.  

“Playing and living in pain is not fun,” Zalatoris posted on Instagram. “I look forward to making a full recovery and seeing everyone in the fall.”

2022 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Cameron Young looked to continue his momentum and prove himself at an event where he missed the cut last year. Young has been one of the most consistent players on Tour for the past year, and the Masters posed an amazing opportunity to get his first major career victory. 

“I’ve been playing well, I feel like,’’ Young said at a pre-tournament press conference. “I feel like it’s been going the right direction, and I’m just excited to get the week started.”

Young opened his first round on fire, with birdies on the first three holes. He ultimately finished his first round with seven birdies and two bogeys and came into the clubhouse at five-under — good for fourth place. 

Young had this to say to the press after his opening round: “I am really comfortable, I really didn’t have any first-tee nerves, and I think the more I’m out here, the more I see these golf courses, I think they just generally suit my game quite well. I’ve obviously proven to myself that I can compete and contend with them.”

On Friday, inclement weather arrived, and fans feared it would throw a wrench into the weekend. Young had one of the later tee times, which meant he would face the brunt of the tough conditions. Young coped well with the high winds, though, and remained even through the first six holes. He bogeyed the seventh hole but bounced right back with a birdie on the next. Young birdied the 10th hole before play was halted for the day. Young was forced to tee off early Saturday morning to finish his second round. He started the famed Amen Corner in the pouring rain, and he managed fairly well. On the par-three 12th Hole Golden Bell, Young flighted his ball through the heavy rain, landed the green and made the six-foot putt for a birdie. On the par-five Hole 13 Azalea, Young hooked his drive right into the pine straw which created a difficult lie. On the punch out, his ball rolled into Rae’s Creek, and he was forced to drop a stroke. Young escaped with a bogey and looked ahead to the remaining holes. On Hole 17, Young missed his drive right again and ended up in the pine straw. His second shot went 40 yards right of the hole, and the next pitch onto the green rolled off. Young made a double bogey as a result of these miscues. He finished the second round at par, seven shots off the lead. 

Young started his third round a mere two hours after finishing his second. He managed to birdie the first hole but found water on the second hole, eventually coming away with a bogey. Young finished the front nine at one-over before play was postponed for the rest of the day due to inclement weather. He struggled on the back half, with a double bogey on the 12th and bogeys on 14 and 15. Young finished the third round three over par and was two under going into the final round, 10 shots off the lead. 

As the sun came out and the course began to heat up, Young looked to make a push on Masters Sunday. He made three birdies on the front nine and started the back nine five shots off the lead. Young struggled again on Hole 12, and a tough three-putt resulted in a bogey. He bounced right back with an eagle on the 13th Hole. Young managed to birdie the 17th and was three shots off the lead in third place with a score of seven under. He missed the green on the final hole, and a tough up and down meant he had to settle for bogey. Young carded a round of 68 in the final round and finished six-under for the tournament in a tie for seventh. 

“Obviously, there’s no one out here that doesn’t want to win, myself included,” said Young in a post-tournament press conference. “It’s a bummer to feel like I played well enough to win and to just come up a few short. It’s just frustrating in the moment.’’

Young certainly has the tools to succeed on the PGA Tour, and Demon Deacon fans will hope they won’t have to wait too long for his maiden victory.