PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (March 31, 2014) -- It’s is a test of mettle right out of the gates.
The key to Nick Moore’s win in last year’s NCGA Public Links Championship was simple—make par.
Over his 36 holes, the Seaside resident had 30 pars, resulting in a one-stroke win over Russell Humphrey.
As for par winning a championship? That can happen when the championship tracks are Spyglass Hill and Bayonet Golf Course.
“Winning with 30 pars, that shows how difficult the championship is,” said Moore, who finished the event with a two-day score of even-par 144. “Spyglass and Bayonet are both long and challenging. Between the two it’s about as tough as you can get in Northern California. The championship is just a steady test of golf. It’s a test of having to hit good shot after good shot.”
Starting Monday, Moore will be part of the 116-man field that returns to Spyglass Hill and Bayonet, as the 49th NCGA Public Links Championship gets underway.
Again too, the goal will be to simply stay in red figures. But that’s not the only barrier Moore faces in trying to become the first repeat winner since Scott Hardy in 2010-2011.
He’ll also be taking on that huge field, which features a slew of big names including Hardy.
“You’ve got the two tough courses, and you’ve got a great field. It’s a testament to the NCGA. People want to play in NCGA championships because of the great events and great venues,” said Moore, who later in 2013 reached the quarterfinals of the California State Amateur Championship. “I think it’s going to be fun.”
The 31-year-old Moore had some momentum coming into last year’s championship. Just prior, he picked up a win at the annual Jim Lathum Salinas City Amateur at Salinas Fairways.
Doesn’t hurt that his home course, and where he honed his game, is Bayonet/Black Horse.
“The fact that I get to practice on these courses (Bayonet/Black Horse), I feel my game can travel anywhere,” said Moore, a former baseball star at Monterey High and Monterey Peninsula College who switched from the diamond to the links nine years ago. “That place has been one of the main reasons my game has progressed.”
Among those who’ll being trying to thwart Moore’s repeat hopes are Hardy, recent Salinas City Am winner Austin Roberts, three-time defending NCGA Senior Player of the Year Jim Knoll and Humphrey, who was the first round leader last year.
The championship will start with 18 holes at Spyglass Hill on Monday, followed by 18 at Bayonet on Tuesday. There is no cut.