RIO GRANDE (Puerto Rico) — Carson Young had to rely more on his short game Friday. He posted a 5-under-67 and took a 4-shot lead into the Puerto Rico Open weekend.
Young, a 28-year old rookie on the PGA Tour didnt have the same swagger as his opening round with three eagles, which brought him to a 63. Young still managed to win his first tour victory.
Young stated that although I didnt have it as good as yesterday, it was still good. My tee shots were not as good as I wanted them to be today. I got into some trouble, but my short game saved me today.
He was notable for his birdie on No. 6 par-3, his 15th at Grand Reserve Golf Club. He also made a bunker shot on No. 8 par-3 to give him a cushion. He finished the round with a bogey at No. 9.
Young was at 14-under130.
Another rookie on tour, Nico Echavarria from Colombia, shot 67 and was 4 shots behind Paul Haley II (66).
Ryan Gerard posted a 67 and was tied for sixth by 6 shots. Gerard was awarded the last spot at the Honda Classic last Monday in a qualifier. He then finished fourth to qualify for Puerto Rico.
He now has a late time on the weekends to try and get a win that would alter his career trajectory. He would be in the field at Valspar Championship if he finishes in the top 10, which he did again.
Gerard stated that the past week and a-half has felt like a rollercoaster. Just not knowing what Im doing, playing well, quick turnarounds, flying, its been really fun. So I think — I know – Im just fortunate to be here and know Im doing well.
I think these are two things I can take in stride and just have fun this weekend.
Young also has some momentum. Young was in the Honda Classic lead by 18 holes before losing it. His tie for 29th was his best finish during his rookie season.
After his opening 63, the 63-year-old tried to act like Friday was the opening round. Hell continue this strategy for the weekend.
He said, Im going just to reset like Im even-par again and go out and try to win every day.
The Puerto Rico Open is played opposite the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It has attracted every PGA Tour member among the top 50 players in the world. Although the winner will not be invited to the Masters, he will be able to play in the PGA Championship as well as a two-year exemption.