Kurt Moore, Utah's long-drive state champion, added the District 9 title to his achievements Saturday to advance to the National Long Drive Championships Oct. 22 in the Bahamas.
Moore easily bested the field of 20 in the competition, which was held on the 442-yard 18th hole at the completion of the second round of the Showdown Classic.His 366-yard, 14-inch winning drive was almost 15 yards farther than runner-up Dan Hernandez of Boise.
Moore's three other drives that landed in bounds also would have won the competition, as they ranged from 357 to 365 yards.
Each competitor got six drives. Ogden's Moore hit his first drive out of bounds in the rough on the right about 315 yards from the tee. The second one was down the middle and was the winner.
Getting a good drive in play early helped him, Moore said. "If you don't get one in early you really start having problems." One golfer missed the fairway on all of his drives, and several others only got one or two in play.
While Moore was clearly the day's longest driver, an unorthodox drive almost relegated him to second place.
Jeff Threadgold, who was the 17th golfer to compete, two places in front of Moore, finished fourth with a drive of 348 yards, 15 inches. But it was a drive of his that didn't count that threw the biggest scare into Moore. Toward the end of his round he hit a drive that landed on the cart path to the left of the fairway. The ball rolled about 100 yards on the cart path, then angled right, getting back on the grass at the 395-yard mark. However, it stopped about 2 feet short of the driving boundaries.
"Had it gotten in, it would have counted. All that matters is where the ball ends up," Moore said.
Defending District 9 champion Fred Hooter was third at 351 yards, 7 inches. Jeff Hoye of Roy finished seventh at 330-9 and Rob Despain of Ogden was ninth at 329-10.
This will be Moore's third trip to the nationals, which has a purse of $50,000. He competed in 1981 in Atlanta and in 1986 in Pensacola, not doing too well either time, he said. Too much practice hurt him in Atlanta, as did swirling winds at Pensacola, he added. "When you get to this level, you have to have some luck," he said.