Poppy Hills / Bayonet GC
April 24-25, 2017
April 25, 2017
Nick Moore has established himself as a guy who can close things out. The 34-year-old Monterey resident is also now one of the top NCGA men’s players of all-time.
A day after taking the lead at Poppy Hills Golf Course with a 1-over 72, Moore shot a 3-over 75 at Bayonet Golf Course and defeated three other players in a tight sudden-death playoff to capture his third NCGA Public Links Championship title.
The win was Moore’s sixth career NCGA title, tying him with five other players for the fifth most NCGA men’s (non-Senior) championship crowns. The only players ahead of Moore are leader Casey Boyns (16), Randy Haag (15) and Talbert Smith and Scott Hardy (7). The victory also moved Moore to within one of Boyns’ record four Public Links crowns.
“This was my most difficult win,” said a relieved Moore, who nearly missed his first round tee time after being involved in a car accident on his way to Pebble Beach. “I had the whole incident yesterday and my back was feeling tight. I wasn’t at 100 percent, but I kept reminding myself, ‘I just want to leave it all on the table.’ I feel like I did a good job of not giving up.”
Joining Moore in what was a four-man playoff after the quartet all finished regulation at 4-over 147 were Stephen Perez, Aleksei Koika and Junior Tour of Northern California member Jeremy Villafuerte. When Moore and Perez both birdied the first hole, Koika and Villafuerte were eliminated.
From there, Perez, who was making his NCGA debut, and Moore dueled four more holes. On the fifth playoff hole (No.2), Perez pulled his drive left into the trees. His second shot hit a tree and nearly came right back to him. Moore, who was in the trees on the left, managed to get up-and-down for bogey, while Perez would end up with a double-bogey after missing a 10-foot putt.
“I was in another world during the playoff,” said Moore of his focus. “I was impressed with Stephen. He showed no signs of nerves and looked confident. It exaggerated that I had to be confident in myself. I knew I’d have to earn it.”
Moore had been in the pressure cooker before. When he won Player of the Year honors in 2015, he’d secure the title by capturing the Valley Am after surviving a grueling 9-hole playoff in nearly 100 degree heat. In order for Moore to have won Player of the Year honors, he had to win the Valley Am title.
Early in the round, it appeared that it wouldn’t be Moore’s day. He’d begin the day with a front-nine 40 after making four bogeys.
His fortunes turned when his girlfriend, Victoria Dibert, began caddying for him starting on the back-nine. The results were immediate, as Moore birdied both No.10 and No.11. Dibert has looped for Moore in all three of his Public Links wins.
“Without her, I probably would not have won,” Moore said. “This win is as much hers as it is mine.”
Perez, playing out of Dragonfly GC, had earlier made the biggest move of the day by posting a 1-under 71. It was the only under-par score posted over both rounds.
April 24, 2017
Nick Moore made the best out of what was a crummy way to start the day.
After nearly missing his tee time when he was involved in a car accident en route to the course, a sore Moore went on to take the first round lead in this year’s NCGA Public Links Championship, carding a 1-over 72 Monday at Poppy Hills Golf Course.
Moore, the 2015 NCGA Player of the Year and a member at Bayonet/Black Horse GC, was the epitome of steady. The 2015 Public Links champion and record three-time NCGA Valley Amateur winner would card 15 pars and tack on a birdie on the par-5 9th to go against just two bogeys.
While Moore is atop for now, there’s a slew of players right on his heels. Five players—Aleksei Koika, Jeremy Villafuerte, Tanner Makimoto, Anthony Valdez and defending champion Matt Cohn—are just a stroke behind after opening with matching scores of 73. Valdez had a nice turnaround, posting a back-nine 34 after opening with a 39 on the front.
Valdez had a nice turnaround, posting a back-nine 34 after opening with a 39 on the front. Cohn, meanwhile, looked to be in great shape after a front-nine 33. The E-club San Francisco member would however stumble at the end, playing his last three holes at 4-over due in part to a closing double-bogey on the 18th.
Also having a nice opening round was Bayonet/Black Horse GC member Steve Donnelly. A 58-year-old regular on the NCGA Senior circuit, Donnelly opened with a 76, leaving him just four strokes off the lead.
Coming off a third place finish at last year’s championship, Moore is no stranger to playing through adversity. When he won Player of the Year honors in 2015, he’d secure the title by capturing the Valley Am after getting through a grueling 9-hole playoff in nearly 100 degree heat. In order for Moore to have won Player of the Year honors, he had to win the Valley Am title.
Tuesday’s second round will see play shift over to par-72 Bayonet Golf Course in Seaside. Play will begin at 7:30 a.m., with the leaders going off at 9:31 a.m.
April 21, 2017
It was the breakthrough he’d been waiting for.
After some time of watching cohorts Bobby Bucey, Robby Salomon and pal Nick Moore win NCGA titles, San Francisco’s Matt Cohn kept wondering when he’d get his turn.
“It wasn’t on the back of my mind. It was on the front of my mind,” Cohn said.
For Cohn, it all finally came together when he sank a 5-foot putt for par in a sudden-death playoff to defeat Brian Helton and win the 2016 NCGA Public Links Championship.
It wouldn’t just be Cohn’s first NCGA victory. It was also his first win since the 2013 Santa Clara County Amateur.
“This has to be my biggest win,” said a relieved Cohn after last year’s dramatic finish. “It’s a relief, but it’s happier than that. It’s been on my mind for a long time.”
Beginning Monday at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Cohn will aim to defend his title. Also up for grabs will be an important 300 points towards the NCGA Player of the Year standings.
Among those joining Cohn in the field will be 2016 NCGA Mid-Amateur champ Zachary Solomon, Garrett Wagner, who’s currently in second place in the Player of the Year standings, and Moore, who won the title in 2015.
Following Monday’s opening round at Poppy Hills, play will shift over to par-72 Bayonet GC for Tuesday’s final round.
As for what to expect in regards to scoring, don’t look for anyone to light it up. The 36-hole scoring record for the championship remains 6-under, set by Ryan King in 1999.