Cameron Young relishing US Open stage as young gun: 'I should belong'

US Open golf 2019 | Rory McIlroy advice for breaking drought

It's here in Pebble Beach in McIlroy's suitcase, but being in Warriors land it's unlikely to make an appearance this week.

After riding a red hot putter to a final round of 61 on Sunday at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club, McIlroy said that while he has made some stupid mistakes trading his putter for an National Basketball Association team jersey would have been one of biggest. It's a favorite course among some of the best golfers in the world.

"But, at the same time, you look at this golf course and you've got wedge into one, wedge into three, wedge into four, the par-five sixth, the seventh hole is 110 yards". Koepka says it's not going to be easy, but he's up for the challenge. The problem is eight of those wins, including a PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, came in a two-year stretch from 2015-16. Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods play in the afternoon.

That missed cut, though, just might have been a blessing in disguise.

Rory McIlroy won the event by seven strokes with a 22-under 258, hitting a 64 and a 61 over the weekend.

He did it by ditching the 3-iron and going with four wedges in his bag, a move he made with Pebble Beach in mind.

"The rough is definitely going to be a factor this week", said Koepka, the world number one who won his fourth major in less than two years when he hoisted the PGA Championship's Wanamaker Trophy last month. "That was the reason for putting that extra wedge in".

"I think sometimes, if you are playing well, you don't need to settle for pars, you can go out there and get after it".

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For McIlroy, feeling good might be the key to his Open chances.

History is against McIlroy claiming his first major title since 2014 however, with no player having ever followed a PGA Tour victory with another at the US Open.

He has elite talent, 12 wins, one major title and a resume the bottom half of the PGA Tour pecking order would kill for. I've seen it so many times. "But that Raptors jersey this week is probably staying in the suitcase". I'll be up for it, I know that.

"And I saw Harry [Diamond]. I did not hit every fairway, but I always had the proper angle", Woods said of that "very special week". "This game was taken away from me for a few years there".

"But it's all moving in the right direction, the confidence is there and I like the way this course sets up for me".

Asked what his goal is this week, Young said: "Obviously, you have the dream of making the putt to win a U.S. Open, but I think this week if I can stick to what I know as far as my game goes and handle myself in a way that I'm proud of and don't regret, leaving on whatever day it is - whether it's Friday night or Sunday night - that will be my goal". He won the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, and played in the last group at Chambers Bay in 2015 and Shinnecock Hills previous year.

Pebble Beach. It is, quite possibly, the quintessential U.S. Open venue - its gorgeous seaside setting steeped in history, its list of champions - Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Woods among them - a veritable Mount Rushmore of golf.



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