SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – For USC freshman Cameron Henry, there was no betting setting for his first college round than Monday at Pasatiempo Golf Club.
Henry is from Los Gatos, which is about 20 minutes from the course that he's played a handful of times, and his parents, Mike and Tasha, were able to make the short drive down Highway 17 to watch their son’s debut.
The stage was certainly set, and Henry undoubtedly delivered.
Playing as an individual, Henry posted a 4-under 66 and sits tied for fourth after the first round of the Western Intercollegiate, just two shots off the lead.
“He’s off to a great start,” USC head coach Chris Zambri said. “He’s been working really hard, doing the things that you have to do if you want to be a great golfer.”
That’s ultimately what attracted Henry to Los Angeles. He didn’t want to go to a smaller program and be guaranteed playing time. No, he wanted the path to starts to be challenging.
“I wanted to be that 6-7 guy at first and have to work my way up into the lineup,” Henry said.
The first time Zambri watched Henry as a junior golfer, Henry gained more than three shots on the field with his putter.
“I saw a guy who could chip and putt, and that’s semi-rare with junior golfers,” Zambri said.
Henry has yet to crack the starting five (or six this week), but he did display the type of game Monday that Zambri recruited him for. He made seven birdies and scrambled well on a difficult Alister Mackenzie layout. Had it not been for an uncharacteristically sloppy double bogey on the par-4 10th hole, where Henry lipped out two short putts, Henry would be tied for the lead. Not that he’s complaining.
“Today couldn’t have gone any better,” Henry said.
Things are definitely looking up for the freshman. The issue for Henry entering college was mostly his health. He was diagnosed with Kienbock’s disease in his left wrist – a rare condition in which the ulna and radius in the arm are different lengths and cause damage to the lunate bone in the wrist. He had surgery in January 2018 and was sidelined for five months.
Now fully healthy, Henry remains determined to prove himself.
“He’s definitely got moxie,” Zambri said.
And he might have a lineup spot before long.