26 Jul 2022 | Amateur golf |
Aussie shares US Junior lead
by Australian Golf Media
By Tony Webeck
Unheralded Victorian Harvey Young has thrust his name into the international spotlight by earning a share of the lead after day one of strokeplay at the US Junior Amateur at Bandon Dunes in Oregon.
Originally from Melton Valley Golf Club in Melbourne’s western suburbs and now also a member at Royal Melbourne Golf Club and Peninsula Kingswood Country Golf Club, Young snared one of just two spots at qualifying and cashed in on day one.
His round of six-under 66 at Bandon Dunes was matched only by 15-year-old Erich Fortlage of Paraguay while American 17-year-old Grant Lester shot six-under 65 at the par-71 Bandon Trails.
One of only two players to go bogey-free in the first of two strokeplay rounds, Young made a hot start with birdies at each of his opening three holes.
But going out in the penultimate group would prove crucial later as coastal fog pushed its way onto the golf course late in the afternoon and made play difficult.
“On [hole] 13, the par 5, it started to get bad and then it got worse and worse,” said Young of the fog.
“I said to [my caddie] Daniel [Kitayama], it was one of the most enjoyable rounds I’ve had just because I’ve never played in anything like this before.”
The 18-year-old made putts from seven, 10 and two feet to get to three-under early, a fourth birdie on the par-5 ninth giving him a front-nine of four-under 32. He would come home in two-under 34 in worsening fog to be in prime position to advance to the matchplay section starting Wednesday.
At seven years of age, Young was the first to sign up to junior clinics offered by PGA Professional Mark Jackson at Melton Valley and made headlines locally by winning the club’s D Grade Club Championship at just 10 years of age.
He earned a scholarship to play at Huntingdale Golf Club before joining Royal Melbourne and then recently Peninsula Kingswood.
According to Jackson, Young’s greatest asset is his temperament, a facet that will get its greatest test the further he advances this week.
“If I woke up and said, ‘You’d shoot even,’ I’d go back to sleep,” said Young of surpassing his expectations. “So having six [strokes] better than that is pretty good.”
This is Young’s first trip to the United States to play golf. He arrived on May 31 and competed in the Dogwood Invitational in Atlanta, was ninth at the International Junior Masters and played the Porter Cup, both in New York.
He played the US Junior Amateur qualifier on June 23 at Huntsville Golf Club in Pennsylvania where he posted a bogey-free 71 to garner one of the two available spots.
It was a positive start for the majority of the Aussies in the field. Birdies at two of his final three holes elevated Queensland’s Kai Komulainen into a share of 18th at two-under, Golf NSW High Performance Squad members Jeffrey Guan and Jye Halls both shot even par at Bandon Dunes to be tied for 49th as Josiah Gilbert posted five-over 77 to be in a share of 172nd.
Following the second round of strokeplay on Tuesday in the US, the top 64 qualifiers will progress to the matchplay section.
Min Woo Lee (2016) is the only Australian to win the US Junior Amateur, Aaron Baddeley finishing runner-up to James Oh in 1998.
Other former winners include Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Scottie Scheffler, Will Zalatoris, David Duval and Johnny Miller.
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