GRAFTON—“It was very suspenseful.”
Those were the words that Grafton Bearcats’ senior golfer Caden Moore used to described the four hours he spent waiting on other scores to be posted after he carded a two-day total of 161 at the WV State High School golf tournament last week at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling.
Moore’s two scores of 81 and 80 would ultimately be good enough for a third-place tie in AA along with longtime friend and competitor, Bridgeport golfer Matt Aman.
The path that Moore took to even get to states was remarkable, as he delivered some spectacular saves during the Regional tournament at Greenhills Country Club in Fairmont to secure one of the two at-large singles bids that were available for golfers whose teams didn’t qualify for states.
At Greenhills, Moore shot a 6-over par on the front nine and found himself 11-over par heading to the 16th, but the senior dug deep and provided some heroics as he birdied the last three holes to force a playoff with Frankfort golfer Isaiah Knotts to claim the second at-large state tournament spot. Petersburg senior Nick Fleming had already claimed the first spot.
After heading to hole number nine and tying on their first three attempts, Moore prevailed on the fourth attempt by landing his tee shot within 15 feet of the pin and then two-putting to make par while Knotts could only bogey. Moore would finish with a score of +8.
That playoff win would secure him a spot at last week’s state golf tournament, held at the Jones Course at Olgebay Resort, where he found himself paired with Riverview’s Aaron Addair, Herbert Hoover’s Bryson Beaver, and Wayne’s Cole Kiley.
Moore started his tournament by missing a 5-foot putt on #1 for par, which in his opinion weighed heavily on his play for the rest of the round.
“That short putt I missed on #1 just set the tone for the rest of the day,” said Moore. He then went on to miss another short putt on #3. “I played pretty good that first day, I just didn’t putt well. When I missed that short putt on #3, I was like ‘c’mon man.’”
He rebounded to shoot a first-round score of 81, good for second place at the time.
Although the course was in great shape, he noted that the pin placements were sometimes in tricky locations, making low scores tough to come by.
“The course was hard,” described Moore. “If you didn’t land your shot on the right tier, you were probably three-putting it.”
The very next day he was paired with Aman, Fleming, and Addair to begin the last round he would ever shoot in his high school career.
Again he shot a solid round, but felt he played the exact opposite than he had the previous day.
“This time I played bad but putted good,” Moore explained. “This time I started on #10 and double-bogeyed that hole. I just thought to myself, “calm down, you have 17 holes left as a Bearcat golfer. I just couldn’t let anything get to me after that.”
Moore would finish his round with a spectacular 25-30-foot par putt (in his estimation) on #9, good enough for a final round score of 80.
Because of the number of golfers competing, Moore’s foursome finished two hours before the last foursome would even tee off, so all he could do was just wait.
He waited four hours for all of the opposing scores to come in, and when it was all said and done, Moore’s two-day total of 81 was good enough for a third-place tie with his friend, Bridgeport’s Matt Aman.
“I didn’t even know we had tied until the scores were posted, but his was posted first,” Moore stated.
He commended his father, GHS head coach Ed Moore, and assistant coach Doug Kirkpatrick, for their roles in his success this season.
“Both of them are very positive,” Moore went on to say. “They had to be very open-minded this season because we didn’t even know what kind of a team we were going to have to start the year.”
When asked what the future holds for the AA 1st Team All-State selection, the senior said he has been in contact with a few schools about playing for their program at the next level. He is undecided about the course of study he wants to follow when he gets there but says he hopes that golf is included in those plans.