Adding One Moore
Even before October, Ryan Moore was having his best year. Sure, he hadn’t won any tournaments, but the 29-year-old Puyallup native (who will turn 30 the week this magazine hits your mailbox) had earned eight top-10s, had tied for third in the season-ending TOUR Championship, and sat comfortably inside the top-50 in the World Golf Rankings, thus all but ensuring invitations to all four majors in 2013.
In addition, Moore’s wife, Nichole, is expecting the couple’s first child later this month. (UPDATE: Nichole gave birth to a baby boy on Oct. 19.)
So, yeah, Moore had plenty of reasons to feel good about life when he teed it up for the first round of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
By the end of the weekend, he had $810,000 reasons to feel even better.
On the back of an opening-round 61 – which could easily have been a 59 but for a three-putt on the penultimate hole – Moore cruised to a one-stroke victory and a tournament-record four-round score of just 260 (for those scoring at home, that’s a scintillating average of just 65 strokes per round).
The win was the second of Moore’s career and his first since 2009 – a three-year span in which he has finished in the top-10 a remarkable 22 times and in the top-5 12 times, but never found himself hoisting the hardware as the sun set on a Sunday evening.
“Of course I would have liked it (winning) to come a little sooner and a little bit more often, but I’m a multiple winner on TOUR now,” Moore said after the win. “I think that’s huge for me and my career and moving forward.
“I’m excited for the offseason. Having my baby here in about 25 days, excited for next year. It was a great way to go out. Obviously, three top-10s in a row leading into this with a chance to win the TOUR Championship and then to cap it off with a win here, I mean, couldn’t finish off my season any better.”
And he’s hardly the only Puget Sound Home Teamer excited about his 2012 campaign. In just his second year on Tour, Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley is 32nd on the money list, with an incredible comeback win at January’s Scottsdale Open (“Agony and Ecstasy” CG, Apr. 2012), a second top-10 and eight top-25s, good enough to earn his own tee time alongside Moore and Hall-of-Famer-to-be Fred Couples at Augusta next spring.
Former Washington Husky Troy Kelly (109th) also looks likely to retain his Tour card by finishing in the PGA TOUR money list’s top-125, while fellow Husky Richard E. Lee (134th is within range. And of course, those players will be joined in 2013 by Lakewood resident Andres Gonzales (“Half Man, Half Amazing,” CG, Aug. 2012), a winner on the Web.com Tour in April.
Seattle native Jimin Kang also held on to her LPGA Tour card for 2013, while Yakima’s Paige Mackenzie – another product of the UW golf machine – sits 85th on the money list with nearly $80,000 in earnings. And Kirk Tripplett – of Moses Lake and Washington State University – also added a win of his own on the Champions Tour, and gave the hometown fans a thrill with a first-round 68 at the Boeing Classic in August.
Six wins, a Senior British Open title and a World Golf Hall of Fame induction. Oh, and for Ryan Moore, a newborn baby on the way. Yeah, it’s been a pretty good year for the Home Team. And with at least four Puget Sound natives on Tour next year – plus at least a half-dozen more on the LPGA Tour, Champions Tour and Web.com Tour – there’s every reason to believe that 2013 is going to be even better.