WOODBURN, Ore. — Graham Moody is anything but what his last name might suggest.
The Mountain View High School product, and soon-to-be-senior, has an unwavering confidence on a golf course. Bad shot or good shot, it’s hard to tell by his reaction.
In match play, that calm demeanor can pay massive dividends.
On Friday in the finals of the Oregon Junior Amateur boys golf championship, a collected Moody flourished late against a fiery Nicholas Watts, of Springfield, Ore. The University of Wisconsin golf commit won 3 and 2 over the defending champion at the OGA Golf Course.
“I think it’s probably the most underrated thing to just stay calm and keep the confidence going throughout the round,” Moody said.
Moody, who won the 14- and 15-year-old bracket in last year’s event, did not bogey a hole in the finals match. In stroke play qualifying earlier in the week, he had a run of 27 consecutive holes without a bogey.
Watts had a nearly spotless scorecard, too, with just one bogey on Friday. The two made clear early on that birdies were the only way to win.
“We both played so well this week,” Moody said. “So I knew going in I had to freewheel it and not worry about making a bogey, just try to make the birdies.”
Despite Moody’s relative inaccuracy off the tee — he hit just 6 of 12 fairways — he kept himself in play and gave himself chances with his putter. He hit 11 of 16 greens and made four birdies.
But it wasn’t until the 11th hole that Moody took his first lead. After Watts’ birdie on the par-5 fourth hole, Moody countered with a birdie on the par-5 fifth to square the match. The two equaled each other through the next five holes before a sudden change of momentum.
Moody had a 20-foot birdie putt and Watts was staring down a 6-foot birdie try on the 11th green. In Moody’s mind, he needed to sink his to halve the hole. His stroke softly trickled in the cup, and Moody watched as Watts slid his chance past the right edge. A potentially tough half turned into a 1-up lead for Moody.
“That’s a big match play thing — not expecting your opponent to miss, expecting them to make,” Moody said. “So I knew I had to give that one a run.”
Moody stuck a wedge to 2 feet on the ensuing par 4 12th for an easy birdie and moved to 2-up while Watts lamented his three birdie putts that missed by inches. Moody gained another hole on the par-5 14th when Watts three-putted for bogey, the lone blemish on either scorecard.
Moody finished par-par to end the match on the 16th hole.
Camas’ Jacinda Lee won 2 and 1 over West Linn’s Natalie Yen in the standard girls’ 12-18 championship bracket. Portland’s Kyra Ly won the girls’ open championship. Ridgefield’s Alyssa Dewey lost 5 and 4 to Bandon’s Cassie Kennon in the finals of the 12-18 first flight bracket.
This was the first year the Oregon Junior Amateur featured an open division for boys and girls rather than separate all golfers by ages. It made for a more competitive and deeper tournament in the open brackets, Moody said.