McCullen keeps Moore from history at McEvoy Trophy

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SOLIHULL, England – Bradley Moore didn’t make junior golf history, but he came very close. The 16-year-old English amateur was bidding to do what no player had ever done: win the McEvoy Trophy for the second year in a row.

Moore finished second to England teammate Haydn McCullen, but he made McCullen sweat over the closing nine holes of Copt Heath Golf Club.

Five shots behind McCullen heading into the final round, Moore looked to have ceded his title early when he bogeyed the first two holes. The 2013 winner was six shots behind after nine holes but came home in 2-under 34 to apply some heat. It helped. McCullen played the back nine in 38 shots and just hung on.

Moore finished two shots away from history. McCullen won with a 5-under total of 279. Moore posted a 3-under 281.

“It was a good defense,” Moore said. “I’m pleased for Haydn. He deserves a good win. I started bogey, bogey so it was a slow start and put me behind a bit more. It was a good battle in the end. I just finished two behind so I’m pleased with the week.”

McCullen did not help his cause with bogeys on Nos. 12 and 17, but his advantage was healthy enough to give him some breathing room.

“It was getting tense towards the end,” McCullen said. “Brad started hitting a few good shots, and holed a few good putts. Conditions were much harder today than yesterday, and I was just trying to cut the mistakes out. I sort of did. It wasn’t my best but it was a good finish in the end.”

The win should go some way to helping 17-year-old McCullen attain his goal this season. “I’d like to get in the top 100 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking. This should help.”

He is currently ranked No. 531, while Moore is No. 473.

Good performances in events against older opposition will also help McCullen reach his goal. He plans to play against Europe’s elite amateurs this season in events like the Lytham Trophy and Amateur Championship.

Those tournaments might be a year away for Moore. He’s just 16, yet he’s highly regarded by amateur aficionados in the United Kingdom. Aside from last year’s McEvoy win, Moore also won the European Young Masters.

Both players have not discounted college golf. McCullen has finished school and is playing full-time amateur golf. He said he would still consider college golf but Moore is probably a better target for college coaches.

“If it was a decent offer and I could go over there and have a look, then maybe. I’m keeping my options open at the moment, and will decide later on,” Moore said.

Not only has no player won the McEvoy Trophy in consecutive years, no player has ever won it twice. Moore will be back next year to try to put that right.

Few would bet against the precocious teenager achieving that feat.

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