2006: Moore sizzles at Players

Bluffton, S.C.

Jonathan Moore had a fabulous finish to his spring, and he could be on his way to a scorching summer.

Moore, the 2006 NCAA individual champion from Oklahoma State, shot 22-under 262 to defeat North Carolina sophomore Robert Riesen by one stroke and win the Players Amateur title July 16 at Belfair Golf Club.

Over four days in the South Carolina Lowcountry, the 21-year-old Moore shot 67-62-66-67, tied the course record in Round 2 and continued his strong play of the past several months by making only three bogeys in 72 holes. Thanks to his victory, Moore took over the top spot in the Golfweek/Titleist Amateur Rankings, replacing Webb Simpson.

“It’s definitely been going extremely well. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Moore told The (Hilton Head) Island Packet. “I’m trying to prepare the right way, both mentally and physically, and things are just kind of coming together.”

Moore, who won his final three tournaments of his freshman season at OSU, led by three entering the final round of the Players, and he needed every shot to hold off Riesen.

The Tar Heel ended his final-round 65 with a 5-foot birdie putt at the final hole, forcing Moore to make a 3-footer for par to avoid a playoff. Riesen had four front-nine birdies and briefly took the lead with another birdie at the par-5 10th. Moore, however, went back in front with short birdie putts at Nos. 11 and 13, and never relinquished the lead.

“There was no chance of pulling away, even though I played really well,” Moore told The Packet. “My hat’s off to Robert. He played phenomenally. He never gave me a chance to breathe out there.”

Kyle Stanley, who won the previous week’s Sahalee Championship and will be a freshman at Clemson this fall, finished third at 20 under after a final-round 62 that tied the course mark set earlier in the week by Moore and Brent Witcher.

Short shots: Todd White (final-round 65) and Trip Kuehne (66) tied for the title in the mid-amateur division at 16-under 268. They tied for sixth overall. Last year’s mid-am winner, Nathan Smith, was third at 13 under. . . . Defending champion Brian Harman finished at 4-under 280 and tied for 38th with Ryder Cup captain Buddy Marucci. . . . Because Belfair’s West Course was closed for renovation, the event was played for the first time on the shorter East Course, and the scores showed the difference. Ten players broke 70 all four days, a feat only Ben Curtis, the winner of the inaugural Players Amateur in 2000, had accomplished in the tournament’s previous six years.

– Staff reports

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