August 24, 2009–When Ryan Moore was a star at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), he was compared to some of the greatest names in the history of golf. His year of 2004–when he won the U.S. Amateur, NCAA Title, U.S. Publinks, and just about every other major amateur event, is looked back upon as arguably the greatest amateur season in history. Ryan Moore was Bobby Jones. Ryan Moore was Tiger Woods. But then he turned pro about a year later and didn't add anything to his trophy case until this past weekend when he won the PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship. Click for video of win from PGATour.com. Final results.
"I don't even know what to say right now, I'm so tired," Moore told the media following the victory, earned via a 3-way playoff. "The last three days and then with the playoff and — it just feels amazing. …The first PGA TOUR event I ever played in was (here in) Greensboro in 2004. Not my first professional event. I qualified for the U.S. Open before that. My first PGA Tour start. To start here and win here, that's pretty exciting. I couldn't really have done it in a better place. But, yeah. Oh, man, this felt like an uphill battle the whole time I've been on the PGA Tour." Moore shot a final round 65, including five birdies in a row on the back nine, and then defeated Jason Bohn and Kevin Stadler in extra holes (he birdied the 3rd hole–the courses' tough 18th– to beat Stadler).
Moore, who lived in Las Vegas for several years after his UNLV career but has moved away, is one of the most heralded players in the UNLV golf program's history, as he was a Rebel from 2001-05. He set a new standard in amateur golf in 2004 by winning five major amateur championships, a feat that had never before occurred and may never be matched. He won the U.S. Amateur, the NCAA, the U.S. Amateur Public Links, the Western Amateur and the Sahalee Players Championships to become the first golfer to ever win all five events in the same year.
He was a four-time All-American and was just the third UNLV golfer in program history to earn first team honors twice (2004 and 2005). As a senior at UNLV, he competed in nine tournaments, won three of them and finished third in three others. He didn't finish lower than sixth individually in any of the tournaments he played in as a senior. After turning in the best scoring average in the country as a senior at UNLV (69.29 over 28 rounds), he won every major player of the year honor that is given out in college golf – the Ben Hogan Award, the Nicklaus Award and the Haskins Award. He was just the second UNLV student-athlete to earn his sport's national player of the year award (first was men's basketball player and future NBA star Larry Johnson in 1991) and was the golf program's second individual NCAA Champion (first was Warren Schutte in 1991).
"During Ryan's Rebel career, he achieved things that no amateur player had ever done before and may never do again," said UNLV men's golf head coach Dwaine Knight. "After today, he can add PGA Tour Champion next to his name and all of us at UNLV are so proud of that." Moore becomes the fifth former UNLV Rebel golfer to win a PGA Tour event, adding up to a total of 13 for the former Rebels.
Adam Scott leads with six wins while Chad Campbell is next at four wins. Charley Hoffman and Chris Riley each have one victory. Riley, another 4-time All-American at UNLV, was tied for the lead with Moore entering the third round of the Wyndham, but struggled down the stretch. Riley also started the final day in the lead but ended up in a tie for 13th. Riley did jump into the top 125 of the FedEx Cup points list and will play in the playoffs that start at the Barclays August 27-30.
Moore and the other former Rebels are also part of a minimum of 29 different PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Nationwide Tour or Champions Tour golfers who have strong ties to the Las Vegas Golf Region. There are more than 50 world class Las Vegas golf courses in the area, including Jack Nicklaus' Chase at PGA Golf Club, Coyote Springs. The newest course in the area has been named to the "Best New" lists of many national publications. Click now to view official information for the Chase, a Las Vegas resort golf course.
Moore let out a huge sigh when he finally made the putt in the playoff to bag his first win. "That was for like five years," said Moore. "That's actually about four years. But, yeah, that was five years worth of exhaustion that feels like at times just kind of letting it out. It felt great. Actually to make that putt felt that much better to not just lag it up there and tap it in, to actually step up and make that birdie. That was really just fun."
Notes about the victory: Moore is the sixth first-time winner on the PGA TOUR this season. There have been no less than 10 first-time winners each of the last five seasons (7 in 2003). Moore has now held the 36-hole lead three times in his career. This is the first time he has turned one into a victory. Ryan Moore held the 36-hole lead/co-lead two other times coming into the Wyndham Championship and finished T6 both times at the 2006 84 Lumber Classic and the 2007 Fry's Electronics Open. Moore is the 15th player this season in 36 events to turn the 36-hole lead into a victory. Moore played in the Wyndham Championship as an amateur in 2004 and finished T24. Moore is the most recent winner of the U.S. Amateur (2004) to pick up a win on the PGA TOUR. Quotes from asapsports.com. And UNLV Sports Information.