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Cameron Young wins Met Junior Championship; Norwalk's Jacob Henny reaches semifinals

Updated 11:05 pm, Thursday, July 18, 2013
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Before leaving for the U.S. Junior Amateur in Truckee, Calif., on Friday, Cameron Young had some important business to attend to at Fairview Country Club on Thursday.

After breezing through the first four rounds of the Met Junior Championship, Young still needed two more victories Thursday to prove he was indeed, the top player in the nation's oldest junior tournament.

Mission accomplished.

Though the going wasn't as easy for Young as it was the first two days, the top-seeded Scarborough, N.Y., native remained as hot as the scorching weather, winning the 96th Met Junior Championship with a 3 and 1 victory over Jeremy Wall of Brielle, N.J., in Thursday afternoon's final.

"It feels great, this is a big confidence booster going into the U.S. Junior Amateur," said Young, a rising junior at Fordham Prep in the Bronx. "Playing a lot of match play in this tournament definitely helps because the U.S. Amateur uses a similar format."

A convincing 7 and 5 winner the first three rounds and a 5 and 4 victor in the fourth round of the three-day tournament, Young topped Clancy Waugh of Quogue, N.Y., 3 and 1, in Thursday morning's semifinals, before beating Wall in the championship match. Wall edged Norwalk resident Jacob Henny, 3 and 1, in the other semifinal matchup.

"Today was really tough compared to the first couple of days," said Young, a 16-year-old who plays out of Sleepy Hollow (N.Y.) Country Club. "I knew it was going to be a big challenge."

Young, who is already being heavily recruited by numerous colleges, had an outstanding summer in 2012, winning the Mittelmark Invitational, the Hochster Memorial and the Brae Burn Invitational. A shoulder problem prevented him from competing in those events this summer, but as the past two weeks have illustrated -- his game is back in top form. Besides qualifying for the U.S. Junior Amateur, Young earned a spot in the U.S. Amateur (scheduled for Aug. 12-18 in Brookline, Mass.) in a qualifier Monday at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton.

"My shoulder is not 100 percent, but at this point, it's close," Young said. "At this point it's a mental thing."

Young took a 1-up advantage on Wall by parring the par-4 seventh hole.

He won No. 8 to go 2-up, but Wall closed to within 1-up by taking the ensuing hole.

Birdies on the 11th and 13th holes increased Young's edge to 3-up.

"He hit a lot of good shots, a couple where I don't know where they came from," Wall said. "When he hit a short iron he was within 10 feet all day. He's a great player who really deserves this victory."

The temperature, which reached 97 degrees at 2 p.m., took its toll on both players.

"It's tough, you have to stay up because if you get down on yourself in hot weather like this it will take even more out of you," Young said.

Said Wall: "Today, in this heat, you had to try to outlast your opponent."

Henny, a recent St. Luke's School graduate, came close to reaching the final. He birdied the first hole to go ahead 1-up, then after the match was squared, won the fourth hole to regain the lead. Wall took his first advantage by winning No. 6, then eventually took a 2-up lead on No. 16.

"I never really got the momentum of the match," Henny said.

"Even after winning the first hole and tying it up on 13, I felt like I didn't have the momentum. When I had to step up and make a putt I didn't make it and I just didn't give myself a lot of easy looks."

Henny, who went 4-1 in the tournament, knew he had to bring his "A" game to defeat Wall.

"I give him a lot of credit, I knew I had to play very well to beat him," Henny said. "He's too good a player to make mistakes against. I'm happy with making it to the last day though and when I look back on this tournament later on, I'll be more pleased that I won four matches and made it to the final day."

Three of the four Met Junior semifinalists will compete in next week's U.S. Junior Amateur in Calif., as Henny and Wall will join Young at the event.

"I'm really excited," Henny said.

"Playing in this USGA championship for the first time and going to California -- a place I've never been to -- it should be a lot of fun. Overall, I feel pretty good about my game going into it."

david.fierro@scni.com; 203-625-4423

96th Met Junior Championship

at Fairview Country Club

Finals

Cameron Young def. Jeremy Wall 3 and 1

Semifinals

Young def. Clancy Waugh 3 and 1

Wall def. Jacob Henny 3 and 1

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