Murray State’s Anna Moore started hot and finished strong, sinking five birdies in 15 holes to win the women’s Kentucky Amateur Championship at Cherry Blossom Golf Course in Georgetown on Wednesday.
Moore, a redshirt junior from University Heights Academy in Hopkinsville, knocked off defending champion and fellow Ohio Valley Conference competitor Elsa Moberly 4 and 3. Moberly recently completed her first season with Eastern Kentucky University after playing for Mississippi State as a freshman.
Each woman won two matches on each of the first two days of the match-play tournament to reach Wednesday’s finals.
Moore’s previous deepest run in the State Am came last year, when she fell in the quarterfinals. But it was clear from the outset Wednesday she wasn’t content with merely improving on that effort.
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Moore shot out of the gate with birdies on the first three holes to go 3-up. She bogeyed just two holes on the day and her lead never shrank to less than 2-up.
Moore said the quick start eased her nerves and set her up for a round of mostly mistake-free golf. She said that her college coaches constantly challenge players to string together three birdies in a row.
I knew I was gonna have to play my best golf to beat her, and I feel like I played some of the best golf I ever have today.
“At Murray we have a mantra, ‘birdie-birdie-birdie.’ We’ve even got it printed on T-shirts,” she said. “That start was huge for my confidence.”
It was especially important given the recent history between the two friends.
Murray State won the OVC team championship in April, finishing 10 strokes ahead of second-place EKU. But Moberly finished 15 strokes ahead of Moore in the individual standings. That tournament was on Moore’s mind as Wednesday’s match began.
“I was definitely thinking about that so I was nervous to start with. I knew I was gonna have to play my best golf to beat her, and I feel like I played some of the best golf I ever have today,” she said.
Moore three-putted for bogey on the par-3 fourth hole. Moberly nearly chipped in for birdie, but settled for par to cut Moore’s lead to 2-up. Moberly got no closer the rest of the way.
“It was just Anna’s day. She played great and didn’t make mistakes. It seemed like she was in every fairway and on every green,” Moberly said.
In fact, Moore did hit every single green in regulation. She flirted with birdies on holes five, six and seven, lagging her putts to within inches of the cup. On eight, she got a long one to drop. After Moberly hit a beautiful chip out of a bunker then tapped in for par, Moore ran in a 25-foot birdie to go 3-up.
“That was really big heading into the turn,” Moore said. “I felt like I’d been putting great all day and to finally get a long one to go was nice.”
After Moore won the 11th hole to go 4-up, Moberly made one last push. On the par-3 12th, her tee shot settled within 10 feet of the cup and she sank the birdie to win the hole. But Moore dropped a 12-foot birdie on No. 14 to go 4-up with four holes to go. Moberly needed to win each of the final four holes to force a playoff, but both women parred No. 15 to end the match.
Moberly said her friendship with Moore took some of the sting out of being denied a repeat.
“If I couldn’t win it then I wanted her to, I’m really happy for her. We’re really good friends and she’s such a good person,” Moberly said. “She played great today and she deserved it.”
Moore said she’ll enjoy the win briefly then get back to work.
“This is a great way to start the summer,” she said. “Hopefully I can win a couple more this summer then go win another conference ring.”