Cameron Young will enter the weekend one shot off the lead at the Saudi International.
Young, the reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, carded a second consecutive 65 Friday in windy conditions at Royal Greens to pull within a shot of Abraham Ancer.
Ancer, the one-time Tour winner who joined LIV Golf last summer, shot a second-round 66 and sits at 11-under 129.
Young received a conflicting-event release from the Tour to play in the Asian Tour event that is sponsored by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the same organization that finances LIV Golf.
Full-field scores from the PIF Saudi International
All three winners of the event, which started in 2019, have eventually defected to LIV, from Dustin Johnson to Graeme McDowell to Harold Varner III.
Young hasn’t won anywhere since he captured back-to-back Korn Ferry Tour titles in May 2021. That run helped him earn his Tour card, and he parlayed that status into a breakout season in which he claimed top rookie honors on Tour and crashed the top 20 in the world.
Young hasn’t posted a top-10 in a full-field event since last July, at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, but strong play so far has him in position to end that drought.
“My iron play has been very good,” said Young, who has hit 14 greens in each of the first two rounds. “I’ve controlled my ball really well into the greens and given myself more opportunities for birdie than most guys out here.”
Amateur Ratchanon Chantananuwat, just 15 years old, made two bogeys late in his round to slide back into a tie for sixth, four shots back. Also on that number is Australian Lucas Herbert, who, like Young, was granted a release from the Tour to play in Saudi Arabia.
Phil Mickelson, Cameron Smith and Bryson DeChambeau were among those who missed the cut. The LIV opener is Feb. 24 in Mexico.