2006: Moore passes Redstone test
If Ryan Moore needed an extra boost of confidence as he prepares for his second trip to the Masters, he got it March 20 at the Hall of Fame Invitational.
Playing a PGA Tour course, the reigning NCAA, U.S. Amateur Public Links and U.S. Amateur champion made his way into the UNLV record books – again – with the seventh victory of his college career. Moore shot a final-round 4-under 68 for a 10-under 206 total at Redstone Golf Club, site of next month’s Shell Houston Open. Moore had been tied with Warren Schutte, the 1991 NCAA champion, for most career victories with the Rebels.
Meanwhile, it was payback time for Oklahoma State. The previous week, the Cowboys entered the final round of the Southern Highlands College Championship one shot behind host UNLV. But while the Rebels closed with an 8-under score to earn the victory, the Cowboys struggled in at 10-over and placed fourth.
This time, it was Oklahoma State’s turn. Leading UNLV by one going into the final round, the Tyler Leon-led Cowboys shot 4-under 284 for an 18-under 846 total to edge the Rebels (285) by two strokes. Moore and Leon battled neck-and-neck down the stretch before Moore, thanks to a 30-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole, earned a one-stroke victory. UNLV’s Andres Gonzales, who sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole for his second consecutive 67, finished third at 8-under 208.
“This was a fun course to play,” Moore said, “and hopefully someday in the future they’ll invite me back (for the Shell Houston Open).”
Leon may not have won the individual title, but the sophomore was the primary reason the Cowboys walked away with the team crown.
After opening with 76, Leon bounced back with 8-under 64 to leap from T-52 to T-4 as the Cowboys shot 18-under the second day. His closing 67 was OSU’s only under-par score on the day.
“He definitely carried us the last two days,” Cowboys coach Mike Holder said of Leon, who earlier this spring won the TaylorMade/Waikoloa Intercollegiate in Hawaii. “We needed every shot.”
Holder praised the Redstone course.
“Tee to green, it’s as good as any we play all year,” he said. “We’re very fortunate to have a golf course like this to play. For once, we weren’t hitting wedge (on approach shots) all day. They even got to hit a 6-iron once in a while. It’s not often (college teams) get to play a course they play on the PGA Tour, so this was a treat for all the players.”
And good preparation for Moore.