Cameron Young Sets Unfortunate PGA Tour Mark at the Valspar

Cameron Young PGA Tour Valspar Championship

Getty Cameron Young during the final round of the 2024 Valspar Championship.

Given how often Cameron Young seems to be near the top of a leaderboard, it’s often easy to forget that the New York native has played golf professionally for less than five years. He’s also been a full-time PGA Tour member only since the start of the 2021-22 season, earning Rookie of the Year honors.

But despite consistently putting himself in contention, the two-time Korn Ferry Tour winner has yet to hoist a trophy on the PGA Tour. During the final round of the 2024 edition of the Valspar Championship on March 24, Young again had a chance to claim victory but ultimately settled for second, finishing two strokes behind Peter Malnati.

Young, 26, now has an astonishing seven second-place finishes on the PGA Tour in just 60 starts, which is quite impressive. However, he also now owns the most runner-up finishes without a victory in the last 40 years.

Cameron Young Surged Into Contention at the Valspar But Again Settled for 2nd

Following a third-round 68 on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook, Young entered the final round of the Valspar three strokes out of the lead.

He got off to a great start on Sunday, making a birdie at the first, but gave the stroke right back with a bogey at the second. Following his second birdie of the day at the par-3 fourth, the Wake Forest alum kept himself in it with six consecutive pars before quickly climbing up the leaderboard with birdies at Nos. 11, 12, and 14.

With pars at 15 and 16, Young came to the 198-yard, par-3 17th tied for the lead with Malnati and gave himself another good look at birdie by hitting his tee shot roughly 17 feet, 6 inches from the hole. But his putt just slid by, and he tapped in for par. Malnati, playing in the group behind him, birdied the 17th to take a one-shot advantage.

On the 438-yard, par-4 closing hole, Young yanked his tee shot left, leaving himself a tough angle but hit a fine second just to get on the green. But left with just over 51 feet to the hole, he three-putted for bogey. While Malnati needed only a par at the last, he made his fifth birdie of the day to take a two-stroke victory and earn his first PGA Tour win since 2015.

Young, meanwhile, was left to wonder what might have been yet again. But he kept things in perspective.

“I think I kept myself in it mentally really well today,” Young said afterward, according to “I hit a couple shots I was really proud of late. … I think I handled my own thoughts really well and, for me, that’s a big win regardless of the outcome.”

Young Needs to Hope For a David Duval-Like Breakthrough

While there are several past players to which Young could be compared, the first who comes to mind is David Duval.

Like Young, Duval posted a pair of wins on what was then called the Nike Tour before becoming a full-time PGA Tour member. And also like Young, Duval found success quickly but just couldn’t close.

In 1995, his first full season at the highest level, he earned three runner-up finishes. The following year, he earned two more. And in 1997, he recorded another three.

At long last, on October 12, 1997, Duval broke through and won the Michelob Championship at Kingsmill in a playoff. A week later, he won the Walt Disney/Oldsmobile Classic, again in a playoff. In his next start two weeks later, he won the Tour Championship. And he was off and running from there.

Over the next four years, Duval won nine more times, including the 2001 Open Championship, and spent a total of 15 weeks as the top-ranked player in the world.

Only time will tell if Young can break through in a similar fashion. But given his talent level and the fact that he’s finished in the top 10 in 15 of his 60 starts, one has to think that elusive victory isn’t far off.

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