Cameron Young’s stunning round of 64 set the pace on the opening day of The 150th Open but the American still feels there is room for improvement.
The 25-year-old was flawless on his Championship debut, reaching the turn in 31 and following up with three more birdies on the back nine to enter the clubhouse as leader on 8-under.
This is Young’s first visit to the Old Course since he played it as a 13-year-old and while understandably satisfied, he is not getting carried away. “Yeah, I did not drive it particularly well,” he said.
“I think I hit it fine off the tee, but it wasn't just going where I was looking.
“We worked our way around the golf course really well. I do not think that I played a perfect round of golf but I scored really well. And I think we thought our way around the way you have to out there.
“I do not think I've figured that much of it out honestly. You could play every day here for a year and you would just scratch the surface of what you can know about this place.
“There are so many humps and bounds and little nuances to the golf course, that we could never know in the four or five days that I have had to prepare.
“A lot of it is accepting that and figuring out as much as we can. I think we probably have seen about 5 percent of what's out there. There is a pretty endless amount to take in."
Young flew out the traps, racking up four birdies in his first six holes as he became one of several players to take advantage of the light winds.
He held his nerve for the remainder of his round, not dropping a shot along the way while continuing to drain clutch putts for birdies, and hopes to maintain his challenge having tied for third at the PGA Championship earlier this year.
“Any time you are around the lead in a major championship or any PGA TOUR event, frankly, you get more and more comfortable every time,” he said.
“Whether I am leading by three or one or four back after today, I'll sleep just fine.
“I am happy I shot 64. I am happy that, as far as I know, I am still leading The Open Championship, but it is not going to change how I feel an hour from now.”
Young also reflected on his previous visit to the Old Course, when the butterflies in the stomach were perhaps even more prominent than when he stepped on to the tee this morning.
“On that trip, the first time I got to be out here, my dad, I think, asked for permission to play from the back tees,” he said. “I think that is something you have to do, if I remember correctly.
“So when we came out to hit our first tee shots with the R&A building right there, there were a bunch of R&A members presumably watching. And I am glad I didn't know; I am sure I would have been nervous out of my mind.
“But I think there is a picture of me hitting there with a bunch of those guys watching. That is really my first memory of here.”