A determined Haley Moore tees off on No. 16 on Monday
SAN DIEGO, California (August 7, 2017) -- It’s so infrequent for a USGA championship to be staged in your backyard that when it does, you have to take advantage of the situation. Haley Moore
, of Escondido, Calif., seized that moment in the first round of the U.S. Women’s Amateur at San Diego Country Club. Moore booked her an Airbnb near the course for the week so she doesn’t have to get on the freeway, and promptly fast-tracked her way to the top of the leaderboard on Monday
. A 5-under 67 left her tied for the lead with 2014 Women’s Amateur champion Kristen Gillman
In a way, Moore's routine this week was both familiar and unfamiliar. Moore had played the course a handful of times before competing this week, and the rental digs help simulate a normal tournament situation. It's her first Airbnb experience, though, and she hopes to get home at some point during the week to see friends.
“I've traveled a lot for most of my tournaments, so I'm used to staying in a hotel more often than staying at home,” Moore said. “I felt just staying somewhere else than at home helps me a lot, too.”
Moore is about to enter her third season at the University of Arizona. The 18-year-old graduated a year early to kick-start that experience, and with a positive result. She was second in the stroke-play portion of the NCAA Women’s Championship in 2016.
Next week, Moore’s brother Tyler will play the U.S. Amateur at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., which is only a few hours from Escondido. This week, however, it’s all about Haley. Her Monday cheering contingent included members from her home country club, her high school golf coach, and perhaps most notably, Craig Davis, a University of Arizona alumnus who Moore says “is like an eight-time club champion” at San Diego Country Club.
“It's really cool to have family and friends out here supporting me because it's probably the first time in a while that they get to see me because I'm in college now,” Moore said. “To see them out here is very special, and they're cheering me on whether I play good or play bad.”
As for Gillman, who will enter her sophomore season at the University of Alabama this fall, this Women’s Amateur has a special feel because her face is posted around the venue on various pieces of championship signage. Gillman says playing this championship never gets old.
“It has the best competition here, and I feel like it's the biggest amateur tournament, so it means a lot to be able to compete here,” she said.
Gillman’s day ended with an eagle at the eighth and a bogey at the ninth (she started on the 10th). Otherwise, it was a steady, four-birdie day.
Gillman is one of two past champions in the field this week – the other being 2015 champion Hannah O’Sullivan – but the two players are on polar ends of the leaderboard. O’Sullivan, who enjoyed a “gap year” of golf and travel since graduating from high school in Chandler, Ariz., last spring, posted an uncharacteristic 11-over 83 on Monday. It left the Duke freshman just two shots from the bottom of the leaderboard.
Don’t expect the 19-year-old to just roll over, though.
“I definitely thought I would be back,” O’Sullivan said before the championship in reference to her 2015 victory. “A lot of thoughts went through my head, but when I won I thought, ‘I want to come back, I want to try to fight for it again.’”
Two more college players, Georgia’s Bailey Tardy and Stanford’s Shannon Aubert, finished the first round at 4-under 68. Moore’s Arizona teammate Krystal Quihuis, who won the Women’s Trans National Amateur earlier this summer, was fifth another shot back.
The youngsters – 14-year-old Lucy Li and 12-year-old Alexa Pano – were part of a large group of players at 1-under 71.
ABOUT THE U.S. Women's Amateur
The U.S. Women's Amateur, the third
the USGA championships, was first played
at Meadowbrook Club in Hempstead, N.Y.
event is open to any female amateur who
USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 5.4.
Women's Amateur is one of 14 national
championships conducted annually by the
10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
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