PEBBLE BEACH – Par proved to be paramount at the 48th Annual Public Links Championship, just ask winner Nick Moore. The 30-year-old Monterey resident feasted on pars over the 36-hole competition, converting 30 total pars, 15 each day.
“[Pars] were the key, just keeping the ball in play and getting the ball on the green giving myself a chance for birdie,” he said.
Moore, who had two bogeys and one birdie in his first round at Bayonet GC yesterday, did the opposite today at Spyglass making two birdies and one bogey. His birdies both came on par 3s, each on the third hole of the two nines, No. 3 and No. 12, with his bogey coming on the par-4 10th. His two rounds of 73-71 for a 144 even-par total were good enough to claim top prize and come back from a day, which he started in sixth place.
“Today was almost the same as yesterday, where I hit greens in regulation, but couldn’t make a putt,” said Moore. “So, I’m really happy to escape with a win only making three birdies over two days.”
Moore’s story to the top ranks of amateur golf here in Northern California is incredibly unique. A competitive baseball player his whole life, including a four-year collegiate career, Moore didn’t pick up a golf club until the age of 23. Since then he has worked tirelessly at his golf game playing over 100 rounds every year, without spending any time at the practice range, learning golf solely on the course.
Last year, the 30-year-old mid-amateur broke out on the Northern California golf scene with a runner-up performance at the NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship and finished 13th on the NCGA Player of Year points list to earn a spot on the Hanna-Wehrman Cup team. For Moore, his game is finally coming together after lots of time on the golf course.
“I’ve just really needed more time to really understand myself and my game, and I think I’m at that point now,” he said.
Another reason for his quick ascension is not only his obsession with playing golf, he also totes bags for a living as a caddie at Cypress Point Club.
“I would definitely say that my job helps my golf game,” said Moore, who’s been at it full-time for six years. “I’m constantly reading putts for people and walking off yardages, so my golf mind is always working.”
All-in-all, Moore is pleased to claim a victory and looks forward to many more opportunities.
“I’m happy with my game right now, and it’s great to be a winner,” he said.
Finishing in second place one shot back was first-round leader Russell Humphrey. The Lodi resident followed his opening round 71 with a two-over par 74. On the 18th hole Humphrey had a good look at birdie, but his 20-foot putt slid by the hole and he settled for par. Such was the story of his day.
“I just had too many putts today, but I hit the ball great,” said Humphrey, pointing out that he had four three-putts on Tuesday.
In third place was Danny Paniccia of Clovis at 146, following his opening round 72 with a 74 Tuesday. The 36-year-old had a chance to capture a second NCGA major to go along with his Valley Amateur win last September, but he faltered down the stretch making four consecutive bogeys on Nos. 15-18.
Defending champion Trent Tessler disqualified himself prior to Tuesday’s round when he realized that he had signed for an incorrect scorecard after yesterday’s opening round.