Bundled up in a gray pullover sweater, and braced for the early-morning winds at Augusta National Golf Club, Puyallup’s Ryan Moore put together one of his best career Masters Tournament rounds.
And it has put him smack dab in the middle of the championship hunt.
Riding three birdies during a bogey-free, 3-under-par 69, Moore is one of a handful of golfers still under par at the year’s first major tournament. At 1-under 143, he was tied for sixth heading into the weekend in Augusta, Georgia.
Moore, who now lives in Las Vegas, took advantage of a downwind par-5 second hole and ripped a hybrid into the narrow opening on his second shot, leading to a two-putt birdie from 12 feet.
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And at the severe downhill par-4 10th hole, Moore’s approach shot took the right-to-left spine in the middle of the green and fed right next to the hole. A 6-foot birdie putt moved him to 2-under for the round.
True to his strategy on most par-5 holes over the years, Moore laid up 50 yards in front of the green at the 13th hole, and knocked a wedge approach pin high. He sank a 7-footer for his final birdie.
“With the wind the way it is, it is such a difficult golf course,” Moore told reporters after his round. “For me, it was all about position off the tee — just getting it in the fairway and giving yourself the best chance at attacking each green. I did that really well today.
“To go bogey-free in these conditions was not something I was expecting.”
Moore’s best Masters finish was in 2015, when he tied for 12th.