Moore Wins More Than a Title

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WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- While the combatants of the 131st British Open battled the miserable cold and wind-whipped rain at Muirfield, two young men fought for a national championship in Michigan, beneath an azure sky, bathed in sunshine and ideal temperatures hovering near 80.

On this glorious Saturday States-side, 23-year-old Lee Williamson and 19-year-old Ryan Moore played the final match of the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at The Orchards Golf Club, about 40 miles north of Detroit.

As Tiger Woods was shooting 81 in Scotland, Ryan Moore was shooting 63 in America. Now Ryan can look forward to competing with Tiger next April at Augusta National. The Publinx champion not only wins a national title, but also an invitation to play in the Masters. And there was little doubt in this 36-hole match who the champ would be.
 
Both Moore and Williamson bogeyed the first hole. Then Moore produced the type of golf that were used to seeing from Woods. Over the course of the next 17 holes, the sophomore-to-be at the University of Nevada Las Vegas produced 10 birdies.
 
Ryan said of his 9-under-par 63, I shot my pants-size, 33-30. Williamson, a first-team All-American who just finished his eligibility at Purdue, shot 2-under-par for that first 18 holes and was six down. Two under and six down!
 
Moore wasnt done with his Woodsonian display. After a quick lunch break, he played the next nine holes 4-under-par to close out the match, 10 and 9.
 
If I was going to lose, I guess thats the best way to do it, said a shell-shocked Williamson. Whatd he throw at me? One bogey and then 12 or 13 birdies?
 
Actually, it was 14.
 
Thats right, Moore, who lost in the final of the 2000 USGA Junior Championship, was 13-under-par for 27 holes. I sure like winning more than losing like I did in the Junior, beamed Moore. It hasnt even hit me yet that Im a national champion ... and I cant even begin to comprehend Im going to the Masters.
 
Yes, the winner of the championship that the USGA created 80 years ago for the amateurs who couldnt afford to join a club is headed to Augusta National. The teen-ager who tees it up on public tracks is on his way to playing at the most exclusive private club in the world.