‘Finally!’ LPGA rookie Haley Moore set to make U.S. Women’s Open debut at Olympic

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The first time Haley Moore tried to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open was 2014. She has basically tried every year since (sectional qualifying was canceled last year due to COVID-19) and really only came close once.

One thing Moore, 22, has learned over the years is that even par tends to turn out pretty well at these 36-hole marathons.

When Moore made the turn for the last time at Brentwood Country Club on Monday, the wind had died down. She was 3-over par and knew that, with one reachable par 5 and one that she could get close, there was a chance that she could make a big move.

Birdies on three of her last five holes put Moore at even-par 144 for the tournament after rounds of 74-70.

“I think the waiting game is probably the hardest part,” said Moore, who was in the fourth group off.

“By the time I was done the wind was dead, there was absolutely nothing. I thought OK, these girls are going to have a good advantage with no wind.”

When the waiting was over, Moore wound up taking medalist honors with fellow LPGA player Jenny Coleman and amateur Amari Avery, another plyer who will make her USWO debut June 3-6 at Olympic Club.

“I would say this is my sixth or seventh year,” said Moore of her qualifying attempts. “Finally!”

Mondays are #Fundays!! Well done you two! #TeamHay #USWomensOpen #Olympic pic.twitter.com/qTiy91pr1t

— Haley Moore Foundation (@FoundationHaley) May 4, 2021

A three-for-one playoff that lasted four holes and spilled over into Tuesday saw USC’s Amelia Garvey edge out teammate Katherine Muzi and Anne van Dam for the final spot.

Players were only allowed a practice round at Brentwood if it was arranged by a member due to COVID-19 protocols. Moore happened to know a member and said last week’s first look came up huge. It also helped that she was paired with UCLA’s Emma Spitz. Because the Bruins sometimes practice at Brentwood, Moore made it a point to pay close attention to how Spitz attacked the course over the first 18 holes.

Moore lives in Escondido, California, and said she’d love to get up to see Olympic in advance of her first USWO. She’s well aware of the history there and is excited to try the famed burger dogs.

The former Arizona Wildcat has had longtime family friend James Eidson on the bag for the 36-hole qualifier as well as the LPGA’s West Coast swing. They played out of the same country club in California, and Eidson was the strength coach for the football team at Moore’s high school.

“He knew in middle school what I had gone through,” said Moore of the bullying she had endured, “and was always making sure I was OK.

“He would always make sure nobody was picking on me or anything.”

A protector turned teammate who will next help Moore navigate the game’s biggest stage.