After Public Links, Moore tries to win Amateur as well

Updated: August 22, 2002, 2:19 AM ET
Associated Press

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. -- Ryan Moore hails from Washington state and plays collegiate golf in Nevada, but he said a move to the Great Lakes State isn't out of the question.

Moore won last month's U.S. Amateur Public Links championship, which was played at The Orchards in Macomb County's Washington Township.

And on Wednesday, the sophomore at UNLV advanced to the round of 32 at the U.S. Amateur at nearby Oakland Hills with a 3 and 2 victory over Jeff Nielson.

Asked if Michigan would be his favorite state if he still was playing at the U.S. Amateur this weekend, Moore, of Puyallup, Wash., joked: "I think I'll be moving here, definitely, yeah.

"The people are nice, and like I said, I played pretty well here, so I hope to keep it up.''

Moore trailed for the first 10 holes against Nielson, of Gresham, Ore., before pulling to all square at the 11th. He then won Nos. 12, 14 and 15 and halved the 16th to take the match.

No male player has ever won the Public Links and the Amateur in the same year, although Billy Mayfair did it in consecutive seasons. The closest was Smiley Quick, who won the Public Links in 1946 before falling to Ted Bishop in a 37-hole Amateur final two months later.

Also advancing Wednesday were Henry Liaw and Charlie Beljan -- who in most states are barely old enough to drive and not yet eligible to drink or vote.

Liaw, 16, eliminated Chen-Chih Chiang, of Taiwan, 3 and 2. Beljan, 17, defeated Anthony Kim, of La Quinta, Calif., 1-up.

Liaw, of Rowland Heights, Calif., won the 2001 U.S. Junior Amateur in San Antonio, and Beljan won this year's Junior Amateur in Atlanta.

By winning the Junior Amateur, Beljan earned an exemption into this year's field of 312, which was cut to 64 after two days of stroke play.

Beljan, of Mesa, Ariz., squeaked into the field of 64 after qualifying late Tuesday on the first playoff hole, while Liaw earned the 26th seed with even-par play through the first two days.

After two rounds of match play on Thursday, the field will dwindle to eight. Match play continues Friday and Saturday, and culminates with Sunday's 36-hole final.

The 102nd champion will join past winners Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Bobby Jones.

Liaw said the South Course at Oakland Hills -- dubbed "the Monster'' by Ben Hogan and known for its ultra-challenging greens -- played up to its reputation on Wednesday.

"You're really grinding out there on every hole,'' said Liaw, the youngest player in the match-play segment of the championship. "You can't stick with one game plan. You have to play the course the way it's set up, even if that's not the way you like to play.''

Top seed Bill Haas, son of longtime PGA Tour pro Jay Haas, advanced with a 1-up win over Lee Williamson.

Haas, of Greer, S.C., shot a 68 Tuesday to earn medalist honors at 5-under 135 but had a tough time shaking Williamson, a senior at Purdue who needed seven playoff holes to advance to Wednesday's match play.

The two were all square after 17 holes, but Williamson faltered on the par-4, 462-yard 18th, landing his tee shot in the rough on the edge of a fairway bunker.

After taking four shots to reach the green and Haas within 10 feet of the cup after two strokes, Williamson, of Crawfordsville, Ind., conceded the match.

"Lee was a tough matchup as the 64th seed,'' said Haas, a junior at Wake Forest. "He's one of the five best college players in the country.''

Two others with familial ties to professional golf played their way into Thursday.

Kevin Stadler of Englewood, Colo., son of PGA Tour pro Craig Stadler, defeated Chris Davis, of Sour Lake, Texas, 4 and 3. Daniel Summerhays, nephew of Senior PGA Tour pro Bruce Summerhays, advanced with a 2 and 1 win over Kirk Satterfield, of Bluefield, W.Va.

Stadler, who is playing in his second U.S. Amateur, said his expectations aren't terribly high.

"I would love to win as I'm sure anybody else here would,'' the 22-year-old senior at USC said. "But I can't say I came here expecting to do anything drastic like that.''

The U.S. Amateur winner will get his name on the Havemeyer Trophy and if he remains an amateur, receives an automatic berth in the next U.S. Open and traditionally has been invited to play in the following Masters.

Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press