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Fordham Prep Golfer Drives Toward Stardom One Putt at a Time

By Dylan Butler | June 12, 2013 6:44am
 Fordham Prep sophomore Cameron Young is enjoying unprecedented success on the golf course.
Cameron Young
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BETHPAGE, LONG ISLAND — Cameron Young didn't want to play golf until just a couple of years ago.

Now, he's one of the top prospects in the sport in the city, being courted by some of the biggest names in college golf.

He even lives on the grounds of Sleepy Hollow Country Club, or as Cameron puts it, “about 500 yards from the range.”

Oh, and he's only a sophomore at Fordham Prep.

“I didn’t want to play when I was little,” he told DNAinfo. “It wasn’t until I was 10 or 11 when I started to like it a lot more.”

Young’s motivation to pick up the clubs, in part, was to spend more time with his family. His father, David, is the head pro at Sleepy Hollow, and his mother Barbara was a one-time aspiring LPGA pro.

 Two-time CHSAA state champion Cameron Young set a league record for lowest nine-hole score.
Two-time CHSAA state champion Cameron Young set a league record for lowest nine-hole score.
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DNAinfo/Dylan Butler

At 16, Cameron is one of the best high school golfers in the state.

“I haven’t seen any high school golfer like this,” said Kevin Gilligan, who just finished his 19th year as Fordham Prep's golf coach. “I have never seen a high school golfer do the things he can do.”

What has Young done? It started with winning the Westchester Golf Association Amateur Championship before he even took his first class at Fordham Prep. At 14, Young was the youngest to ever win the title.

And then, as Gilligan said, “he won everything last year.”

As a freshman, Young captured the league’s scoring title, the CHSAA state championship and the Federation crown with a 1-over-72 at the famed Bethpage Black course.

“That built up a lot of confidence,” Young said. “I came into [the Federation tournament] playing very well and I played really well into June and July.”

Before winning a second straight CHSAA state title earlier this month, Young broke the league’s record for the lowest nine-hole score with a remarkable 6-under-31 on Winged Foot East’s front nine.

Young played much like any recreational golfer — with a birdie and an eagle on the first two holes.

“That was a good day,” Young said.

“It was great to watch. It was exciting,” Gilligan said. “I think he missed a short put on nine, maybe it was a 10-footer, and he would have shot a 30.”

On the golf course, Gilligan said Young “has no weakness.” The soft-spoken Young also has no ego, which has helped him handle his meteoric rise.

“It helps to stay very even keel,” Young said. “The highs and lows take a lot out of you, especially when you’re out in the sun all day. It’s important for me to stay very calm and just deal with whatever comes my way.”

Young had a rare slip-up Sunday, finishing second in the New York State Federation tournament with a 5-over-77 at Bethpage Black. He bogeyed the 17th and 18th holes to end up two shots behind Derek Bard, a senior at New Hartford High School, near upstate Utica.

Still, Young’s well-rounded game is a rarity among players his age.

“He drives the ball well, his irons are crisp and accurate,” Gilligan said. “He can put a ball on the part of the green he wants to put it on and he’s a great putter.”

The combination of his resume and skill set has college coaches drooling. It’s still three months before they are allowed to contact him directly — for now Gilligan serves as Young’s secretary — but Division I schools have already lined up.

Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Stanford, Wake Forest, North Carolina and Illinois are all highly interested.

“It’s amazing to see at such a young age,” Gilligan said.

“It’s kind of weird,” Young said. “I’m still worried about my grades from sophomore year, how I did on my finals. Thinking about where I’m going to be six years from now is just a weird feeling.”

Weird, yes, but Young will certainly attack and conquer the recruiting process like the intimidating first tee at Bethpage Black.

“He’s very grounded, very humble and has great parents,” Gilligan said. “He’s an honor student and he’s very mature and thoughtful.

"He’s going to have great future success in golf.”