By Ron Balicki
Maple Grove, Minn.
The World Amateur Team Championship is still some three months away. And it probably won’t be until sometime after next month’s U.S. Amateur before the U.S. Golf Association selects the three-man team that will represent it in the international event to be played in Puerto Rico the final week of October.
But go ahead and pencil in the name Ryan Moore as one of the three players who will carry the United States banner as it defends its World Amateur Team title.
Moore, 21, from Puyallup, Wash., all but secured his spot on this year’s World Amateur squad July 17 when he captured his second U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship in the past three years.
And once again, the UNLV senior did so in impressive style. This time, he defeated Dayton Rose, 21, of Midwest City, Okla., and a senior at Oklahoma State, 6 and 5, in the scheduled 36-hole final at Rush Creek Golf Club. Two years ago, Moore captured the title with a 10-and-9 triumph in the final.
Among the rewards Moore gained is an invitation to the 2005 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, where he made the cut in 2003.
“I’m really looking forward to going back there again,” said Moore, who said his biggest thrill in golf is the round he played with Arnold Palmer at his first Masters. “It will be nice having the experience and knowing what to expect. I’ll know the course a little better and I think I’ll feel more comfortable.”
Moore was by far the most dominant performer at Rush Creek. After shooting 12-under 132 and
finishing second by a shot to Danny Green, 47, of Jackson, Tenn., in the stroke-play portion of the championship, Moore rolled to six match-play victories, with none of those matches reaching the final hole.
In the championship match, Moore made five birdies against two bogeys as he surged to a 5-up lead after the morning 18 holes. He followed in the afternoon with three birdies, an eagle and a bogey, ending it when he matched Rose’s par on the 13th hole.
“Once again it was the putter,” said Moore, who is 13-1 in APL matches. “I was really making a lot of putts, and in an event like this, you have to make a lot of putts to win. Still, I was hitting the ball well all week and giving myself the opportunities and that helps ease a lot of the stress, especially in match play.”
Moore was sidelined three weeks following the college season because of surgery to remove a cyst from his tailbone. But he showed no ill effects.
He won the first and fifth holes with birdies and was never behind or even all-square at any time, reaching his largest margin of 7 up with a birdie at the eighth hole (26th hole) in the afternoon session.
“It was pretty much a matter of a few putts not dropping, making some mistakes early on and not capitalizing on some shots that I should have,” Rose said. “I didn’t hit it as straight as I should have, and when Ryan made a mistake, which was rare, I’d make a mistake on the same hole. Overall, I felt I played pretty well, it just wasn’t good enough.”
For Rose, it marked the second consecutive year in which he was runner-up in this championship.
“Sure it’s disappointing to get this far in a national championship like this and not complete the deal,” Rose said. “But this year, doing it (finals) again, has pretty much convinced me this is definitely where I belong, playing this caliber golf. It definitely gives me confidence and helps out going into my last college season.”
Moore’s credentials for selection to the World Amateur team stretch further than his APL performance.
Moore, a member of the 2003 Walker Cup team, entered the week off victories at the NCAA Championship and the Sahalee Players Championship. He was a first-team All-American and the Mountain West Conference player of the year.
Perhaps most impressive is the fact that from mid-October through the two rounds of stroke play at the APL, Moore had played 35 competitive stroke-play rounds, shooting par or better in all but one.
Moore becomes the eighth multiple winner of this championship and first since David Berganio won titles in 1991 and ’93. It is the third time a UNLV player has won the title. In addition to Moore’s two victories, Warren Schutte captured the 1992 title.
Moore is the third player to win the NCAA and the APL, but the only one to accomplish the feat in the same year. Moore and Rose are exempt into the U.S. Amateur next month at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York.