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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Taylor Moore has scared plenty of leaderboards over the past two years.
On Tuesday at Atlanta Athletic Club, a leaderboard finally blinked – and the Arkansas junior was there to take full advantage.
Moore struggled through his first 12 holes in the final round of stroke play at the 114th U.S. Amateur, going 2 over and falling out of the overnight lead he shared at 6 under. Playing the “tougher” Highlands course, Moore finally found his groove on the par-5 fifth hole with a birdie and then ran off two more, concluding his round with a birdie at the ninth hole for a 2-under 69 to take the lead in the chase for medalist at 8 under.
He is three shots ahead of anyone in the clubhouse as the afternoon session gets underway.
For Moore, with only one victory during the last two years, being medalist in the field of 312 players carries plenty of meaning.
“It would be a pretty cool accomplishment. I just think it would be a step in the right direction,” said Moore. “I’ve played well like I said the past year, past two years, and not that I’m due or anything, because this game doesn’t owe you anything, but it’s coming and I’m starting to play well, so it will be good.”
Jimmy Beck, Jonathan Garrick and Sam Burns advanced Wednesday to the Round of 64, sitting at 5 under after 36 holes. All three have secured high seeds, although Burns says that match play is a great equalizer.
“it makes you feel good about yourself, the way you played the first couple days, so I think confidence-wise it’s definitely a booster there,” said Burns, who won the 2014 Junior PGA title just two weeks ago.
“But I think it comes down to just playing one-on-one with somebody. It’s really not a big deal.”
There will be some big names not hanging around for the rest of the week, as the projected cut sits at 3 over after morning play, which would leave out Texas standout Gavin Hall (4 over), junior standout Will Grimmer (4 over), SMU’s Austin Smotherman (6 over) and former GB&I Walker Cupper Rhys Pugh (8 over).