For much of Sunday’s final round of the Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championship, you could find UCLA’s Roy Moon in the rough, the trees or some adjacent fairway chasing down a poor tee shot.
After the round, you could find him atop the leaderboard.
Moon hit only six of 14 fairways Sunday but produced his best drives on the last two holes to preserve a one-under-par 71 and win the title by two shots over teammate Steve Conway on the South Course at Torrey Pines.
Moon, who began the day three shots behind third-round leader and defending champion Nico Bollini, had a four-round total of six-under-par 282.
Conway, Moon’s roommate at UCLA, shot 69 in the final round. Playing a group ahead of Bollini and Moon, Conway came within one of the lead when he birdied the last two holes to finish with a four-under total. Bollini, who will be a junior at USC in the fall, struggled with his putter, shot 77 and finished third at three under.
Moon birdied the final hole for his two-stroke margin. “I hit some bad shots and made some bad decisions, but I pretty much hung in there all day,” said Moon, who like Conway will be a senior this fall. “I just kept thinking I had to keep plugging away.”
Moon trailed Bollini by two when the two began the back nine. At the 15th hole, Moon took his first lead with a 20-foot birdie putt. Each made par at the 16th to leave Moon ahead by one. Facing the 442-yard 17th, Moon hit a 300-yard drive down the middle of the fairway and made par. On the 524-yard par-five 18th, Moon hit a 309-yard drive down the middle, reached the green in two and made birdie. Bollini hit his drive on the 18th into a fairway bunker and opted to try to reach the green in two. His three-wood shot hit the lip of the bunker on the way out and traveled only 60 yards. He ended up with a bogey.
“I had to go for it,” Bollini said. “I thought about laying up, but Roy hit that drive and I was thinking he’s gonna make birdie and I have to try and put some sort of pressure on him. It wasn’t a smart shot, but I had to risk something.”
Last year, Bollini had a two-shot lead entering the final round and needed a playoff to win. Last week at the California Amateur, he advanced to match play but blew a 2-up lead with two holes to play in his second-round match and was eliminated. Sunday, he had one birdie, six bogeys and didn’t hole a putt longer than six feet.
“I don’t know if it’s tough playing with the lead or what,” Bollini said. “I kept putting myself in tough positions and my putter let me down.”