Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – Not many players are successful in
defending their title in golf tournaments. Ryan Moore joined that club on
Sunday at the CIMB Classic thanks to some perfectly executed strategy.
Moore entered the final round tied for the lead but quickly found himself two
strokes behind playing partner Kevin Na.
Na birdied three of the first four holes, while Moore had birdied the second.
Moore inched within one as they headed to the back nine and the two were tied
with five holes to play.
At the driveable par-4 14th, Moore teed off first, and curiously choose to
lay up off the tee. Na blasted his drive just over the green, but seemingly had
the easier chance at birdie.
It was Moore who made birdie, which helped him pull away from Na. Moore nearly
holed his second as his approach shot landed within a foot of the hole just
right of the cup and stopped about a foot away on the left side.
Na, whose chip shot on the 14th ran well by the hole, failed to make his
birdie putt and fell one behind when Moore kicked in his short birdie try.
It was the perfect match play strategy, and that was how the final few holes
were shaping up, a match play battle.
“On 14 there, Kevin hit a great drive that looked almost like a 2-putt for
birdie and I had laid up, but that was my strategy all along. That’s where I
was comfortable with that pin, and to hit a great wedge shot in there was a
perfect,” Moore explained. “I laid up exactly where I needed to – perfect,
full sand wedge (distance). Just couldn’t have had a nicer shot and almost
ended up making that one.”
The strategy for Moore was to put pressure on Na’s chip and with his near-
perfect approach shot, that is exactly what he did.
Moore made it two in a row as he also birdied the 15th. After a bogey at 16,
Moore stuffed his second shot at the 17th within a foot once again. That
birdie pushed him four clear of Na, who made double-bogey at the 17th as his
tee shot was never found right of the fairway.
Reverting to a match play mind-set is easy for Moore, who had one of the great
summers an amateur golfer can have in 2004. Among his match play victories
that summer were the U.S. Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur Public Links
Championship and the Western Amateur Championship. He was the first player
ever to win the U.S. Amateur and Public Links in the same summer.
The mind-set in match play is to put pressure on your opponent. Moore executed
his plan to precision on Sunday. Maybe he’ll get a chance to do the same one
day at the Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup.
RARE FINISH ON THE LPGA
It is a rare occurrence when the top-three players in the world rankings are
playing in the same event. It is an even rarer occurrence when they finish
1-2-3 on the leaderboard.
On the PGA Tour, you might see the top three together at 11 events a year –
four majors, three World Golf Championship and four FedExCup playoff events –
but not many more than that. The current top three in the men’s world rankings
have played 11 events together this season, though not the aforementioned 11.
The top-three ranked LPGA Tour players – Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis and Lydia Ko
– have been among the top three spots in the world rankings most of the
There are no WGCs on the LPGA and no playoffs, either, but there are five
majors. The five majors were among the 16 times those three players have
played the same event this year.
However, the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship was the first time this season
they finished first, second and third on the leaderboard.
Park, Lewis and Ko have all had such stellar seasons. In the 16 events they
have all played in, the trio have all finished in the top 10 at five events.
The closest they had been to finishing 1-2-3 was at the Swinging Skirts LPGA
Classic, where Ko won, Lewis finished second and Park tied for third.
Being among the top finishers every week helps, too. Lewis, Park and Ko are
first, second and tied for third among top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour this
Lewis is the old lady of the group at the ripe of age of 29. That means the
LPGA Tour is in good hands for many years to come.
– According to a Golf Channel report, members of this year’s losing U.S. Ryder
Cup team have contacted Fred Couples to ask him to be the next captain.
Couples has gone 3-0 as the Presidents Cup captain and is a past major
champion. He fits the old criteria the PGA of America used to look for in its
captains, so we’ll see if this happens. Truthfully, there is no reason it
– Miguel Angel Jimenez had a “Tin Cup”-like moment this past weekend at the BMW
Masters. The Spaniard rinsed four shots in the water on the par-4 ninth.
Jimenez posted a 9-over 13 on that hole en route to a 16-over 88 in the final
round. He did win three times earlier this year, twice on the European Tour
and once on the Champions Tour.