Mendoza: Young still in mourning

·2 min read

Still ruing the fact that he didn’t win the 150th British Open is runner-up Cameron Young.

With his final-round 65, the 25-year-old American should have won his first major at the just-ended fourth and final golf Slam of the season.

That 65 was a magnificent seven-under-par at St. Andrews of Scotland, the Old Course deemed easily as one of the most difficult patches of real estate property in golf.

That 65 was so sublime it should have catapulted Young to the throne of pantheons after falling four shots off the lead with a round left.

And to carve that 65 on a pot-bunker riddled layout loaded with all kinds of hump-laden fairways, when gut-wrenching moments were at their insane height, was truly majestic enough to merit a well-earned victory.

But it was not to be.

It did allow Young to overtake third-round leader Rory McIlroy by a single shot—the third-placed McIlroy ending up as another victim of fate’s unkind kick with his 70 finish despite hitting all 18 greens in regulation.

Credit it to McIlroy’s mild-mannered demeanor that at the end of his failed bid to end his 14-year drought of winning another major, he did not break his putter in two.

Why, for Chrissakes sakes, did McIlroy’s putter produce only two birdies from 18 tries? Are you kidding me? He had at least three short putts that, if holed, would have made him the winner by a shot.

But such is golf that, until now, no one’s been able to decode its abysmal mystery of invincibility. Is fate a luck-teaser, too?

Only Cameron Smith, the Brisbane-born Australian, seemed to know the answer.

He was tied with Young going to Round 4, four strokes behind Irish McIlroy and Norwegian Victor Hovland (fourth).

Reducing McIlroy’s lead to three strokes at the turn, Smith shot five improbable birdies in a row from the 10th to grab the lead. With a hole left, Smith led flight mate Young by two shots.

Young added a dash of drama by eagling 18 from 18 feet to tie Smith for the lead.

Anytime, a last-hole eagle would have won it.

Not this time.

Smith needed a last-hole birdie to nail it.

He did just that, holing the winner on two putts from 80 feet—the first putt mercifully crawling to within two feet off the cup. Can you believe that?

Yes, Young had a finishing 65. But Smith had a 64.

If Smith’s not a pain in the ass for Young, who is?

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