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USGA Championship Wrapup, 2004
20 Dec 2004
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Far Hills, N.J. – Ryan Moore of Puyallup, Wash., capped off one of the greatest seasons ever by an amateur golfer when he defeated Luke List, 2 up, in the championship match of the 2004 U.S. Amateur at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. The victory highlighted just one of the 13 national championships conducted by the USGA in 2004.

Earlier in the summer, Moore, a 21-year-old senior at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, won the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove, Minn. (he defeated Dayton Rose 6 and 5), thus making him the only golfer in USGA history to take the U.S. Amateur and APL titles in the same season. Billy Mayfair won the APL in 1986 and the U.S. Amateur in 1987.

Moore is one of five golfers to win multiple USGA titles in a single season, joining Chick Evans (1916 U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open), Bobby Jones (1930 U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open), Jay Sigel (1983 U.S. Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur) and Pearl Sinn (1988 U.S. Women’s Amateur and Women’s Amateur Public Links).

When added to his Western Amateur and NCAA Division I individual titles, Moore’s 2004 season could be the best by an amateur since Jones won the "Grand Slam" in 1930.

"It’s amazing," said Moore after the Amateur win. "Just to start out with this as the goal at the beginning of the summer and then the beginning of this week … and to be able to actually do it is amazing. It’s a great feeling. I wouldn’t trade it for the world."

In October, Moore led a three-person USA squad to the World Amateur Team Championship in Puerto Rico, finishing as the low individual scorer in the event that was shortened to 54 holes because of inclement weather.

The U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open saw players past champions again regain the trophy. Retief Goosen of South Africa used a red-hot putter – he needed only 23 putts in the final round and just 11 on the back nine – to hold off 2004 Masters champion Phil Mickelson by two strokes to win his second U.S. Open in three years. Goosen shot a final-round 71 over the difficult 6,996-yard, par-70 layout at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., and was one of two competitors to finish under par over 72 holes.

At The Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley, Mass., Meg Mallon of Ocean Ridge, Fla., recorded a 6-under-par 65 – the best final-round score by a champion in Women’s Open history – to beat Annika Sorenstam by two strokes. The 13-year stretch between Women’s Open victories (Mallon won the title in 1991) was the longest in the championship’s history.

Michelle Wie, the 15-year-old phenom from Honolulu, Hawaii, was denied in her bid to win a second consecutive U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links title when fellow teenager Ya-Ni Tseng of Chinese Taipei birdied the 36th hole to earn a 1-up victory at Golden Horseshoe Golf Club (Green Course) in Williamsburg, Va. At 15, Tseng became that championship’s second-youngest champion, behind Wie.

The remaining eight USGA championships all had first-time winners, although Greg Reynolds of Grand Blanc, Mich., nearly earned a second USGA Senior Amateur title. Mark Bemowski of Mukwonago, Wis., lost to Reynolds in the 2002 Senior Amateur final, but he reversed the result at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles by posting a 4-and-3 victory.

Carolyn Creekmore of Dallas, Texas held off Elizabeth Haines of Gladwyne, Pa., to take the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif., 1 up.

After two previous defeats in USGA finals, the third time proved to be the charm for Jane Park, 17, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Park, a member of the victorious USA Curtis Cup team that beat Great Britain and Ireland at Formby Golf Club in England, defeated Amanda McCurdy of El Dorado, Ark., 2 up, in the 36-hole final of the U.S. Women’s Amateur at The Kahkwa Club in Erie, Pa. Park was the runner-up at the 2003 Women’s Amateur and ’04 U.S. Girls’ Junior.

Korean-born Sihwan Kim, 15, of Fullerton, Calif., edged 14-year-old David Chung of Fayetteville, N.C., 1 up, at The Olympic Club in San Francisco in the youngest final in the history of the U.S. Junior. Kim moved to the U.S. four years ago and became the fourth 15-year-old to win this championship. Ironically, all of them have been Californians (Mike Brannan, Henry Liaw and Tiger Woods).

At the U.S. Girls’ Junior, Julieta Granada of Paraguay needed 20 holes to beat Jane Park at Mira Vista Golf Club in Fort Worth, Texas. Granada became the fifth foreign-born champion of this championship in the last six years.

Despite recent hip surgery and stifling heat, Peter Jacobson of Portland, Ore., survived a marathon 36-hole final day at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Mo., to earn a one-stroke victory over Hale Irwin at the U.S. Senior Open. Heavy rains on Friday forced USGA officials to implement a 36-hole final day. Jacobson fired rounds of 69 and 68 to earn his first USGA title and first Champions Tour major.

Austin Eaton III of New London, N.H., held of Josh Dennis of Birmingham, Ala., 1 up, in the 36-hole final of the U.S. Mid-Amateur at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga. Dennis’ tee shot at the final hole found a water hazard, enabling Eaton to win the hole with a par 4.

Corey Weworski of Carlsbad, Calif., denied Virginia Derby Grimes a second U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur title by posting a 5-and-4 victory at Holston Hills Country Club in Knoxville, Tenn.

* story courtesy www.usga.org *

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