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Moon Shot

Simi Valley Golfer Finished Strong to Win in Sacramento

August 25, 2000|JOHN ORTEGA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Don't get Roy Moon wrong.

The Royal High graduate was glad to win the RS Investment Sacramento Junior Classic at Twelve Bridges Golf Club in Lincoln last week.

But more significant to him was that he had a strong final round after struggling at the end of previous American Junior Golf Assn. tournaments he played this summer.

Moon fired a six-under-par 70-68--138 to finish second in the AJGA Arizona Junior Classic at the Raven Golf Club at South Mountain in Phoenix late in April, but he shot above par in the final round of five tournaments he played after that.

"I think that instead of playing my own game, I was trying to catch the leader," the UCLA-bound Moon said. "I was trying to make a big move and when that didn't happen right away, I was losing interest. I was so focused on trying to play real well that I wasn't playing shot by shot."

The Nabisco/Legendary Headwear Junior Tournament at Mission Hills from July 4-6 and the Rolex Tournament of Champions from July 11-14 illustrated Moon's final-round problems.

Moon was only three shots off the lead after shooting a three-under 141 first two rounds of the Nabisco/Legendary Headwear Tournament at the Arnold Palmer Course at Rancho Mirage, but a final round of 74 left him 10 shots back of the winner.

Worse yet, he was three-under par for the round--and six under for the tournament--after the first 10 holes before getting a bogey on No. 11 and double bogeys on Nos. 12 and 13.

Moon was tied for 12th at one under after the first three rounds of the Rolex Tournament at Serrano Country Club in El Dorado Hills a week later, but an 82 in the final round left him tied for 36th with a 297 total.

Then came a tie for 14th with a 77-76-75--228 total in the Dockers Golf/Golf Design Junior Classic at La Purisima Golf Course in Lompoc from July 25-27, a fourth-place finish of 67-74--141 in the Simi City Amateur championships at Simi Hills Golf Course on Aug. 5-6, and a 72-73--145 performance in a U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament at Hillcrest Country Club the next day.

None of those performances seemed to indicate Moon would win the Sacramento Junior Classic with a 70-78-69--217 total.

But he tinkered with his swing in mid-July and it's taken time for him to feel comfortable with the adjustments.

Moon made what he called a minor change by strengthening his right-hand grip and a major one by using his hands less on his follow through.

"My hands were too active," he said. "I was turning the ball over a little too much. . . . I'd hit the ball in the direction I wanted it to go, but then it would turn over and go somewhere else."

Moon isn't totally comfortable with his swing entering the PING Phoenix Junior Championship at Karsten Golf Course on the campus of Arizona State starting today, but he's confident the alterations he made will pay dividends when he begins his freshman season at UCLA next month.

Coach Brad Sherfy of UCLAexpects the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Moon to contend for a top-five spot on a squad that includes Russ Fulgentis and J.T. Kohut from Westlake High.

"I think he's got a good motion," Sherfy said of Moon. "I really like his swing in general. He's a big kid and he really loves golf. . . . When you get a kid with talent who wants to work hard, there's really no ceiling on what he can do."

Moon improved consistently in his four-year varsity career at Royal. He won the Marmonte League title as a junior and senior, averaged a school-record 73.4 shots per round last year and lowered that mark to 71.9 this year.

"He was very consistent," Coach Bob Misko of Royal said. "At one point this season, he shot something like 30 under over a 12-match stretch. And it wasn't like he was real hot. He was just real consistent."

That's what made Moon's tie for 49th in the Southern Section individual championships at Canyon Country Club in Palm Springs in May so surprising.

Moon tied for fifth in the section championships as a junior and tied for second in the CIF-Southern California Golf Assn. championships 2 1/2 weeks later. But a five-over 77 in the section final in May left him four shots and 25 places shy of advancing to the CIF-SCGA tournament again.

"It was just one of those days," said Moon, who fired a 69 in the 1999 section final at Canyon Country Club. "I just couldn't do anything. I was three over heading into the second-to-last hole and then I hit a ball out of bounds and ended up with a double bogey."

Sherfy said Moon's performance in the section championships did nothing to change his opinion.

"That's golf," he said. "That's the way the game is. You can't play your best every time out. If you look at most of the guys on the PGA Tour, they have their hot streaks and their cold streaks. Many of the guys will earn 90% of their money over a six- or seven-week stretch and not make that much the rest of the year."

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