Poppy Hills GC
July 10-12, 2020
July 12, 2020
While 2020 has had its challenges, 2019 wasn’t that great of a year for Monterey resident Nick Moore.
Among the things the 38-year-old Moore had to come to terms with was the loss of his grandmother. “My grandmother and grandfather are like my parents,” Moore said. “Losing her was a tough blow for me and my grandfather. I was really lost for a period of time when she passed. Golf was on the back-burner.”
On Sunday, Moore showed that he’s back, posting a solid 4-under 67 at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course to claim his second NCGA Amateur Stroke Play title by a stroke over Alexander Chin. For Moore, who finished with a three-day total of 8-under 205, the victory was monumental. It marked his eighth career NCGA title, putting him alone in third place on the all-time NCGA win list behind only legends and NCGA Hall of Famers Randy Haag and Casey Boyns, who are tied at 16.
“It means a lot to me to be alone in third,” said Moore, whose resume includes three Valley Am crowns, three Public Links titles and now two Stroke Plays (he also won in 2018). “When I got to five wins, I started thinking about getting to third place. I’m halfway to catching Casey and Randy.”
In what was a wild ending, Moore would clinch the title when he drained a clutch 9 foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to get to 8-under. How big was the putt? Playing in the same group, Chin, a senior at University of San Francisco, had reached the 18th green in two and had set himself up with a 3-foot eagle putt to get to 7-under. The last group of Matt Cohn, Daniel Connolly and Stephen Hale also were all within striking distance of getting to 7-under.
“It was fun. That’s why we’re out here,” said Moore, whose 205 total matched the championship record. “It’s pretty close to one of my best tournament rounds out here.”
Having started the day just a stroke behind co-leaders Matt Cohn and Daniel Connolly, Moore got going with a front-nine 32 that would place him in a tie with Cohn. The two, who are good friends, squared off in the 2018 championship, which would be won by Moore in a sudden-death playoff.
Chin, who missed his eagle putt, still shot a final round 68 to finish alone in second place at 206. The first round leader after an opening 66, Chin was steady posting three birdies and 15 pars in the finale. But iit wasn’t enough to catch Moore.
Cohn, Hale and Connolly, who all finished T-3 at 207, also had their chances. Cohn, looking for his third NCGA title, never got going on the back-nine, posting a 37. “I just didn’t make any putts,” said Cohn, who could’ve tied Moore with an eagle on the 18th but pulled his drive left into the trees. “None of them fell in.” Hale would eagle the 18th, but had earlier been stung by bogeys on hole Nos. 15 and 17. Connolly, who won the title in 2017, slipped early in part due to lost ball double-bogey on the par-4 3rd. “I felt like I just struggled all day with my ball striking,” said Connolly, who also could’ve tied Moore with a closing eagle but came up short. “Overall though, I was happy with my week. Nick played great.”
Moore has been through ups and down before. In 2013 he played well, and a year later he admittedly did nothing. In 2015, he bounced back with three victories en route to winning NCGA Player of the Year honors.
“The key is to continue to believe in yourself,” Moore said. “Knowing that you’re going to get through the bad times.”
Spoken like a true future NCGA Hall of Famer.
July 11, 2020
This one has all the makings of a wild finish.
After 36 holes of this weekend’s annual NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Poppy Hills Golf Course, Daniel Connolly and Matt Cohn, both previous NCGA champs hailing from San Franciso, are tied atop the leaderboard at 5-under 137. But there’s still 18 holes to go, and plenty of others in pursuit.
Connolly, who won the event in 2017, made a move by posting five birdies in the second round, but the former Southern Methodist University standout also had a costly double-bogey on the par-3 6th in carding a 69. Cohn, a two-time winner of the NCGA Public Links Championship who’s coming off a recent third place finish in this year’s event, also had five birdies to go against two bogeys in carding a 68.
As for the pursuers, a group of three players–Nick Moore, Stephen Hale and first round leader Alexander Chin–are just a shot back at 138. Moore, who won the title in 2018, shot a 69 along with Hale. Chin, who came into the event leading in the NCGA Player of the Year standings, slipped back to a 72.
Daniel Griffiths, a member at Olympic Club, is just two behind the leaders after a 69. Another three players–Josh McCarthy, Michael Cliff and Evan Peterson, are only three back at 140. McCarthy is the defending NCGA Amateur champion.
The cutline (low 30 and ties) came at 5-over 147. Among those missing the cut were defending champion Ian Dahl (148).
Sunday’s final round will begin at 7:30 a.m.
July 10, 2020
Alex Chin is the early person to chase at this weekend’s annual NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship.
Chin, a senior at University of San Francisco, set the pace Friday at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course, posting a solid 5-under 66 that flirted with the event record book.
A member at Castlewood CC, Chin got going with a front-nine 34 that included two birdies. On the back-nine, he turned it on even more, carding a 32 that featured back-to-back birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 and a closing birdie on the 18th. His lone speed bump was a bogey on the par-3 6th.
The championship record low for a round since the tournament was re-established in 2004 is 65, shot by Kevin Lucas and Jonathan De Los Reyes. De Los Reyes’ 65, shot in 2015, set a course record at the time at Poppy Hills.
Right on Chin’s heels is Olympic Club member Jonathan Keane. An accomplished mid-amateur, Keane penciled in seven bogeys, but he also had three bogeys. He could’ve gone lower but stumbled with a bogey on the par-5 18th.
Three players–Daniel Connolly, Sebastian Iqbal and Zachary Solomon—are tied for third at 68. Connolly and Solomon are former NCGA champions, having won the Stroke Play title and 2016 Mid-Amateur Championship, respectively.
Nick Moore, who won the event in 2018, and Josh McCarthy, the defending NCGA Amateur champion, are in a group of players at T-6 after opening with 69.
Defending champion Ian Dahl, who played at Cal and works at the NCGA, is T-45 after an opening 74.
Following Saturday’s second round a cut will be made with the low 30 (and ties) advancing to Sunday’s final round.