Ashton Nix , Sports Editor
As he holed his final putt at Jackson Country Club, Garrett Moores realized a dream that he had envisioned since he was young. It was a dream that he was very sure would come true when he first stepped on campus at Samford University, but, as his senior year was winding down, it was one that he had all but given up on.
Winning a college golf tournament.
Moores broke through at the 2017 Grover Page Classic in Nashville, Tenn., held March 13-14. He posted a three-round total of 212 to clinch his first college victory.
“It was something that I’ve wanted for a long time,” Moores said. “I was just beginning to wonder if it was ever going to happen.”
When Moores was about 5 years old, his dad started taking him to the golf course.
“My dad always played and so when I was old enough he started taking me out with him,” Moores said. “I started to enjoy going with him and the next thing I knew I had fallen in love with the game.”
He developed a passion for the game and decided that, rather than pursuing football or baseball or other sports kids his age were deciding to go after, he was going to pursue the game of golf.
Fast forward several years and Moores was looking for a place to play college golf. As he searched, an opportunity presented itself in the form of a scholarship offer to Samford – the same school that Moores’ father had attended years earlier.
“I liked the school, especially the business school, and I really liked the Christian aspect of the university,” Moores said. “It had a very homey feel that I was drawn to.”
Moores sprung to a hot start his freshman year, carding a 69 in his first collegiate outing, tallying two top 10 finishes and posting the lowest scoring average (73.39) on the team. However, Moores lost his steam, and, entering his final semester as a Bulldog, he had not achieved the success that he had desired.
“When I first got to Samford, one of my goals was to win a golf tournament during my time here,” said Moores. “And the way I was playing freshman year I really expected that to happen, but it just never panned out.”
Moores began this year’s Grover Page Classic, hosted by UT Martin, with high hopes, despite the fact that the forecast predicted the worst weather that the team had played in all year.
“I felt really good about my game. I had been playing well and I had a good feeling about how this tournament was going to go,” Moores said. “Plus, to me the weather was a positive. A lot of people get frustrated really easily in weather like that, so I knew that if I had a positive outlook about it I would already be a step ahead of the field.”
He played like he was a step ahead, too. In conditions that saw freezing temperatures and pouring rain, Moores lit the course up, shooting matching rounds of 70 the first day. He was tied for the 36-hole lead at four under par.
The conditions didn’t let up the second day, but neither did Moores. He fired a final round of even par, 72, to take the tournament by a single shot. The individual win was the first by a Samford men’s golfer since Drew Aimone won the Paladin Intercollegiate in 2013.
“All of my past letdowns made this win so much sweeter,” Moores said. “I was worried that it might not ever happen, but it did and it was an awesome feeling.”
Moores and the men’s golf team will be back in action as they head to the Southern Conference championship this weekend in Pinehurst, N.C.