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Young golfers make early impression

Young golfers make early impression

DETROIT — Cameron Young paused for a moment before he politely asked for the exact definition of “imposter syndrome.”

It’s not that Young didn’t want to answer the inquiry — when did he shed his imposter syndrome and prove to himself that he belonged on the PGA Tour? — he simply wanted “to make sure I don’t sound stupid.”

By the dictionary? A behavioral health phenomenon that causes people to doubt their own skills, accomplishments, or intellect, despite evidence of their success. Put more simply, it’s this recurring thought: There’s no way I really belong here.

“Oh, yeah, I think it’s gradual,” Young said Thursday at Detroit Golf Club, a few minutes after he finished with a 5-under 67 to sit tied for second at the 2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic, ahead of the afternoon wave. “I was fortunate early on to have some good finishes that, at least golf-wise, makes you think there’s no reason you shouldn’t be out here. I’d imagine it’s the same for Nick.

“I know he hasn’t played his best golf since (the win) but he’s going to have that as proof that he can play well out here, so it’s just a matter of doing what he does.”

That “Nick” is Nick Dunlap, a 20-year-old who as recently as January was a sophomore at the University of Alabama.

Of course, he’s no longer a student in Tuscaloosa; that ended when he earned a sponsor exemption to The American Express in La Quinta, California, then went out and shot a tournament-record 11-under 60 on Saturday en route to winning it.

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That made him the first amateur to win on tour since Phil Mickelson took the Tucson Open in 1991 and the second-youngest winner on the PGA Tour in the past 90 years. (The only younger winner? Jordan Spieth, who won the 2013 John Deere in his final weeks as a teen.)

But since Dunlap accepted his Tour card and moved toward living out his dream full-time, reality has been less pleasant: In 14 starts, Dunlap hasn’t finished higher than a tie for 11th (in late March). He missed the cut at the Masters, the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open, with just four finishes under par and two in the top 20.

Needless to say, Dunlap’s 67 on Thursday morning, leaving him tied with Young, one stroke back on the leaderboard of early leader Aaron Rai, was exactly what the doctor ordered. By the end of the day, Dunlap was tied for ninth, four shots back of the lead of Akshay Bhatia.

“I haven’t started very well the last…


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