Ryan Moore turned professional in 2005 after a storied career as an amateur golfer. The UNLV grad won the U.S. Amateur title, a U.S. Public Links crown and an NCAA individual title.
Moore has had a successful professional career, but he is still looking for a breakthrough performance at a major. After shooting 69 Saturday to climb into a tie for fourth at 4-under par, the 34-year-old hopes it comes at Augusta National Golf Club.
This is the ninth Masters appearance for Moore, who was low amateur in 2005, when he placed 13th to earn an exemption for the following year. His best finish is a tie for 12th in 2015. His best major finish is a tie for ninth in the 2006 PGA Championship. He has five wins on tour, including one each in the past three years.
Moore said he will draw on past successes in his quest for a green jacket.
“I think you take a little bit of all those things, past victories or past Masters,” Moore said. “Playing in the Ryder Cup last year under a lot of pressure … you take little pieces of all those things and kind of carry them with you and just hope something along the line helps and makes a difference.”
Moore got things going on the front nine, with birdies at Nos. 2, 8 and 9. He made the turn at 34.
He came up with another impressive birdie at No. 11. The 505-yard par-4 is considered one of Augusta’s toughest holes.
Moore blasted a drive of 319 yards and hit a 7-iron approach to four feet to make a difficult test seem easy.
“It’s the hardest hole on the planet,” Moore said. “I got the best drive I’ve ever hit. On that one, my caddie jokingly said, ‘I don’t have numbers from here, actually. I don’t know what this is.’ I must have hit it good. That pin was pretty accessible today. It’s still a scary shot having a 7-iron, rather than having a 4-hybrid like I have frequently into that hole.”
Moore said he doesn’t have a score in mind to shoot today.
“The course can be so volatile, you can go up and down three or four spots in the right direction or the wrong direction very quickly on the back nine. And watching it throughout history, what you want to do is be within a couple shots on the back nine. That gives you a chance.
“I’ve been pretty calm all week for one reason or another, and hopefully that’s the same thing tomorrow.”