For a course Chris Mogg had never before played, the RMG Club at Oakbrook holds a special place in his heart.
It’s where his father and uncle both grew up playing. Mogg claimed his first American Junior Golf Association victory in his first time playing the course Thursday with a three-round total at 3-under-par 207 in the Ryan Moore Championship.
“This really means a lot to me,” Mogg said. “My dad gave me all the pointers for what to hit on this hole and that hole. I hadn’t played here, and until my practice round I didn’t know what to expect. But to come out here and play the way I did really means a lot.”
He held at least a share of the lead after every round, closing out the victory Thursday by firing a 1-under 69, including birdies on two of his final three holes.
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Moore, the PGA Tour professional from Puyallup, was standing behind the 18th green when Mogg sank his tournament-clinching putt. Mogg and Morgan Goldstein, who won the girls tournament at 1-over 211, each got to take their picture with Moore after receiving their first-place trophies.
And then many more pictures after that.
“Honestly, after you win a PGA Tour event, your face hurts so much,” Moore told them while posing for photos.
Mogg’s father, Gary, was fielding phone calls from his brother Brian, a renowned swing instructor who started the Brian Mogg Golf Academy at Chambers Bay, and his other son, also named Brian Mogg, who competed in the Seattle Amateur and is entering his sophomore year at Washington State University.
Gary Mogg competed on the WSU golf team from 1982-85 after graduating from Lakes High School, less than four miles from Oakbrook.
“It was extra special that he was able to win here,” Gary Mogg said. “It means so much to me to watch him play on the golf course I learned to play golf on. And he shot scores better than I ever shot in three rounds.”
Chris Mogg said his father’s experience was best utilized before the tournament began. He was playing a practice round with a friend when he got lost after the sixth hole.
“We were like, ‘Where is the next hole?’ We didn’t know what to do,” Mogg said. “So we called my dad.”
On the girls side, Goldstein cruised to a five-stroke victory over second-place Ashley Fitzgibbons of Eastlake High School.
And she’s still 13 years old.
Goldstein, who is entering her first year at Faith Lutheran High School in Las Vegas, is the first boy or girl not from the state of Washington to win the tournament in the three years it has run. Fitzgibbons won the tournament two years ago.
“It’s a big confidence builder,” Goldstein said. “It makes me feel happy.”
This year’s Class 4A state champion, 2015 Bellarmine Prep graduate Olivia Benzin, finished at 13-over 223 to tie for ninth. Brittany Kwon of Bremerton tied for 13th and Katelann Soth of Kentwood took 21st.
Mogg, who recently committed to Gonzaga University, began the day tied with Andrew Chin of Honolulu, but pulled away with birdies on the 16th and 17th holes.
Chin tied for second at even-par 210 alongside University of Washington commit Sam Warkentin of Bainbridge Island and Perry Xin of Vancouver, B.C. Joe Highsmith of Bellarmine Prep tied for 11th at 7-over 217 alongside Eric Hagen of Aberdeen and Thomas Jefferson’s Sean Yi tied for 17th at 8-over 218.
Mogg lost the 4A state championship just over a month ago in a playoff. But even if he had won that, he said this win would still have been sweeter.
“The state championship would have meant a lot, but this feels bigger because it’s run by Ryan Moore and it’s a great course that my parents grew up on,” Mogg said. “This one probably means more.”