In May of 2018, Haley Moore (Escondido, California) became a legend. On the 19th hole of her match in the NCAA National Championship, she buried a birdie putt to seal victory for the University of Arizona. It was a moment she will never forget and one that can’t be taken from her.
This spring, Moore competed in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur and turned in a tied for seventh performance. She also completed a Bachelor’s in General Studies with an emphasis in Sports and Society, walking with friends and teammates at commencement ceremonies in Tucson. Tomorrow, she’ll tee it up in round one of Q-Series on the cusp of fulfilling a lifelong dream to play on the LPGA.
“I came to Pinehurst when I was younger for the U.S. Kids, but definitely pretty cool still,” said Moore, who won the 2012 U.S. Kids Golf Teen World Championship Girls 13 age division at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club. “I know the history of Pinehurst and just being here is special. All the experiences have helped me work harder, as well as focusing on the one goal I have to compete at the LPGA level. These courses get you ready for what they play on Tour and I understand what I have to do to get out there.”
The path for Moore hasn’t always been glorious, however. Throughout her childhood, especially during middle school, Moore was the victim of bullying. She faced peers that were cruel in school and in sports. With support from her family and a constant internal message, Moore continues to prove them wrong.
“When I went through that rough time, I was depressed and didn’t know if I could make it out here and set it aside as a distraction,” Moore said. “I knew that I wanted to do this sport for a while because I love it and told myself to keep doing what I love, don’t let other people judge you or your life. If you have to take a different road to accomplish your goals, then go and you will eventually get there.”
October marks National Bullying Prevention Month and Moore is in Pinehurst, N.C. at Pinehurst Resort getting ready for LPGA Q-Series presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. She hopes to speak at schools or conventions one day about what she went through, even next year if a LPGA Tour card comes knocking.
Having already won the battle against those who ostracized her growing up, the gauntlet that is the final step in Q-School of 144 holes may prove to not even compare. Moore’s perseverance will undoubtedly lead her to where she wants to go, as it did before.
“The comments they say might be offensive, but try to block it out as much as possible and do whatever you can to report them so someone can make it stop,” said Moore, in terms of advice to those dealing with bullies. “Or tell really close friends and they can tell them, ‘Hey, you need to stop. You don’t need to judge this person.’ Also, keep doing what you’re doing and if you can find success at it, you’ll get out there. Whether that is as a pro golfer or having the best job you ever wanted. Reach for your dreams.”
COLLEGE TIES RUN DEEP AT Q-SERIES
A total of three North Carolina institutions for higher education are featured among the competition teeing it up at the second annual LPGA Q-Series with several names to keep an eye on once the event starts on Wednesday.
Among them is Cheyenne Woods (Phoenix, Arizona), the lone representative for Wake Forest University in the 98-player field.
“North Carolina always feels like a second home to me,” said Woods. “Coming from Arizona is a bit of an adjustment, but I love the weather and style of courses here. I graduated from Wake Forest in 2012, but I look forward to being able to compete in the area again.”
Furthermore, one of the biggest rivalries in college sports takes center stage at Pinehurst Resort as both Duke University and the University of North Carolina are just an hour and a half drive northeast from the tournament venue. Mina Harigae (Monterey, California) and Laetitia Beck (Caesarea, Israel) will don the Duke Blue & White, while the UNC faithful of Maia Schechter (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) and Katherine Perry (Cary, North Carolina) is set to rock the Carolina Blue & White.
“I’m excited to be playing this week in my home state,” Schechter said. “It’s two great golf courses that look to be in great shape. I’m going into Q-Series with a ton of confidence after ending the Epson Tour season strong. I also think that having fellow Tar Heels teammate Leslie Cloots on the bag will keep me relaxed and fearless. Just go out and see what I can do.”