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Billings' Joey Moore emerges as State Am champion following two-hole playoff at Old Works

Posted at 11:00 PM, Jul 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-16 16:52:54-04

ANACONDA — Joey Moore of Billings emerged victorious Saturday at the 106th Montana Men's State Amateur at Old Works, outlasting Billings' Sean Benson and Park City's Nathan Bailey through a final round that was decided by two playoff holes.

Moore, Benson and Bailey each shot par on No. 18 to maintain a three-way tie after three rounds, each with a three-day score of 9-under 207. The trio then shot par again on No. 18, which served as the first playoff hole. The tournament was finally decided on the second playoff hole, No. 1, as Moore sank a five-foot birdie putt.

Moore had missed what he estimated was a four-foot putt that would have given him the win on the first playoff hole.

"I played it dead center and it just broke a little bit on me and lipped out," Moore told MTN Sports. "I was like, 'Well, let's go play another hole.'"

Moore, who also won this year's Whitefish Fourth of July tournament in a playoff, said his winning putt on the second playoff hole was a similar look.

"I just didn't want to miss that one," he said.

The victory served as the second State Am title for Moore, who played collegiately at San Diego State. He won his first in 2019 in Great Falls. Moore was the runner up to Bozeman's Joey Lovell last year.

Moore said it was an emotional victory: He and his father, who was his caddie for the tournament, are mourning the recent passing of a close friend. Moore also was glad to have fellow ex-Billings West golfer Marcus Drange on hand to witness the win.

"Emotions kind of got a little high at the end," Moore said. "I hugged my dad and I was almost in tears."

Bailey led after both the first and second rounds and came into Saturday with a two-stroke lead over Moore, Benson and Missoula's Sean Ramsbacher. But Moore's consistency paid off — he shot 69 in all three rounds. Bailey finished Saturday at 1-under 71, while Benson, like Moore, was 3-under with a 69 to necessitate a three-way playoff.

Bailey, the head golf coach at Rocky Mountain College, was seeking his fourth State Am crown after three-peating between 2010-12.

Bozeman's Lovell, the two-time defending champ, placed fourth, shooting a 2-under 70 on Saturday and finishing with a three-day total of 212. Coming in fifth was Ramsbacher, who shot 213 over three rounds and finished Saturday with a 3-over 75.

Missoula's Bill Dunn won the Senior division, shooting scores of 74, 69 and 68 over the course of three days to finish at 211 and prevail by five strokes over Billings' Jerry Pearsall.

In the Super Senior division, Bozeman's Timothy Haas finished with an overall score of 216 (72-70-74) to win nine shots over Anaconda's Hal Seward.

For full results from the Montana State Golf Association, click here.