There’s something about a playoff that gets the competitive juices flowing for the Moore family.
Three golfers. Two spots.
That’s what it came down to last August at the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional National Championship. Tied for fifth, Mandy Moore joined Charlotta Sorenstam and Ashley Grier on the 18th hole to determine who would earn the final two spots into the 2015 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The three played the par five not once, but twice, where Moore twice made birdie to secure her spot into her first LPGA event.
“Getting into that playoff and getting my nerves and competitive juices flowing again it was kind of fun,” Moore said by phone.
Moore isn’t the only one in the household who enjoys a good playoff. Her husband Sean survived a five-man, nine-hole playoff to earn the final spot into last year’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst in North Carolina. It was a home game for the Moores, just down the street from where Mandy has spent the past two years as an assistant golf professional at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club and is preparing for her first trip to the PGA.
“Fortunately I have good co-workers, a good boss who allow me to practice when I can,” Moore said.
A legendary boss, indeed.
Pine Needles is home to one of the LPGA’s first members, Peggy Kirk Bell, who hosts her famous instructional Golfaris in which Moore has become involved. She’s even done a little learning as well, spending time with the 93-year-old Bell.
“She still comes out for the Golfaris,” Moore said. “She’ll come out in a golf cart and around the range and give everyone pointers. They really enjoy seeing her and listening to her. She’s an amazing lady and it’s great having the opportunity to teach with her and the other instructors at the Golfaris. I’ve really learned a lot from them.”
“Mandy is an instrumental part of our entire operation and her desire is helping others improve their golf game to make it more enjoyable,” said Pat McGown, Director of Instruction at Pine Needles and Mid Pines. “Mandy had a tremendous college career at Wake Forest which is why I was not surprised to see her play so well in the T&CP Championship. Anytime you can earn a qualifying spot through a playoff you have to feel a huge sense of accomplishment.”
Moore focuses on fundamentals and creating a good foundation from which to work with her students, which is made up of mostly women and a few juniors. Moore says she likes to make sure they are comfortable with the basics before working on their actual swing.
“We try to work with each person to make their swing works as well as it can for them based on their physical issues and what they can get out of it,” Moore said. “The biggest thing is just enjoying what you’re doing and getting your game in a spot where you can go out and enjoy playing, whether it’s a ladies group on Wednesday or a men’s group on the weekend. To go out and have fun with it is the most important thing.”
Moore will be having her own fun next week, teeing it up in her first LPGA event at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at West Chester Country Club where she recently played a practice round.
“It’s in great shape. It’s going to be a great course for the event and already in tournament condition.”
Since Moore says the course will play a little long for her, she’ll be relying on her accuracy off the tee and short game to help her navigate the course. Although she’s grown up through the game, playing as a junior, in college, and spending even a year on the Symetra Tour, it’s this next step that she’s dreamed of.
“I pictured myself playing full time for awhile,” Moore said. “I think it’s going to be fun to get out and compete at that level and see what I can do.”
While Moore says she hopes to make the cut, she says her goal is to just follow her own advice and enjoy every moment.
“This might be the only time I get to play in an event like this,” Moore said. “So I’m really trying to take a mental approach to enjoy myself and take advantage of the opportunity I have.”
After all, it’s opportunities like these that get Moore’s competitive juices flowing.