BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Ryder Cup clincher Moore in the mix

Ryan Moore tees off on the first hole during the first round of the SBS Tournament of Champions on Thursday at the Kapalua Plantation Course. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Ryan Moore tees off on the first hole during the first round of the SBS Tournament of Champions on Thursday at the Kapalua Plantation Course. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

KAPALUA — Ryan Moore says not a whole lot has changed for him since being on a winning Ryder Cup team, and the facts back him up.

He was good enough to be named to the U.S. roster then, and he’s good enough to be in the thick of the hunt for an SBS Tournament of Champions victory now.

Moore had a pair of eagles in a bogey-free 6-under-par 67 on Thursday at the Kapalua Plantation Course in the opening round of the PGA Tour’s first event of the year, leaving him a tie for second place with Jim Herman and Justin Thomas, two shots behind Jimmy Walker.

“It was an interesting round of golf today, and in the end it was a good score,” Moore said.

Moore won the John Deere Classic in August for his fifth tour victory, but his biggest highlight of 2016 came in October, when he clinched the Ryder Cup’s decisive point at Hazeltine in Minnesota.

“To play under that kind of pressure — not just play, but play well in it, thrive in it a little bit, it gives you confidence, but that’s more confidence for down the stretch, under that pressure, under the gun,” he said. “Thursday afternoon, first round of the year — eh, I’m not feeling the pressure too much. Long term, yeah, it’s going to help. It was a great positive to my year last year and a great positive, I really think, for the next couple of years. But, in the end, it’s still golf, and you just have to go play.”

Moore went 2-1 in his first appearance at the Ryder Cup.

“It was a great experience, and one I’d love to do again, but at least the one I got to be a part of was an amazing one,” he said.

On Thursday, Moore holed out from 116 yards on the par-4 third hole, and then hit his second shot on the par-5 fifth inside 14 feet, setting up his other eagle.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been 4 under through five holes or whatever and not make a birdie,” Moore said.

Moore — whose best finish in four previous Kapalua appearances is a tie for sixth in his debut at the event in 2010 — also birdied the ninth hole, then followed that with eight straight pars before a birdie on No. 18.

“I honestly burned a lot of edges, hit a lot of good putts,” he said. “So, you know, I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.”

* Brad Sherman is at sports@mauinews.com.

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