Colby Moore ’09, a member of the men’s golf team, is fresh off an impressive performance this past weekend. Moore captured first place at the New England Division I Championship in Providence, R.I., and the Bulldogs came away with the overall victory. A North Carolina native, Moore spoke with the News to reflect on his past successes and both his and the team’s future prospects.
Q: What did it feel like to win this weekend?
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A: It was great. It was my first college win. I had finished second the week before at our home tournament, and I had been wanting to win it but finished second by a shot. I feel like my game’s been good enough to win [this season]. I just hadn’t been able to finish the deal. So [this weekend] felt great. It was funny coming down the last couple of holes. I didn’t know where I stood with the other individuals.
I had a one-shot lead going into the 17th. I was just going through my normal routine. One shot at a time.
Q: What did the victory mean for the team?
A: It felt great to get the team win as well. The Yale golf team hasn’t won a tournament since 2003, and since I came in 2005, this was my first individual win and my first team win. Also, one of our teammates, Ben Wescoe ’10, who was playing at No. 2, had his best finish at Yale so far, coming in second place. For the team to win and for him to do so well, that was great.
Q: Were you nervous?
A: The only time I got a little nervous was on 16, 17 and 18. I knew I was somewhere close to the other guy who was two shots ahead. I was just sticking to my game plan and focusing on my own game. I knew I was close, and I started feeling a little anxious. I was just able to hit the shots at the right time. But I’d be lying to say that I wasn’t a little nervous.
Q: Are you superstitious, and do you have any particular habits before or during games?
A: Really, I’m not superstitious. There are guys on tour that only play a certain number of balls. But a ball’s a ball to me. I do have one routine before I tee off; I say a prayer. I also always carry five tees, a divot tool, a cross from my high school golf coach and a Yale ball marker in my right pocket.
Q: You’re involved with a Christian service group at Yale called Athletes in Action. What has that meant to you?
A: I’ve been involved in Athletes in Action since I got [to Yale]. I went to a private Christian academy back home in North Carolina, and I’ve been a Christian for most of my life. It was very comforting when I came to Yale; it was a group that was able to fill a void in my school life that I had back home. It was a great group for me because it has other Christian students who are also athletes. We share some of the same struggles, having to balance academics and sports and still keeping up with our spiritual lives. It’s a great group of friends. We support each other, and we’re very close.
Q: What exactly does Athletes in Action do?
A: We get together on Tuesday nights in the Branford Common Room. We worship together, and our leader generally delivers a message pertaining to a Biblical passage that he’s chosen for the week. We also have a chance for individuals to stand up to talk about things they’ve come across in their personal Bible studies. It’s a time of fellowship. It’s a very tight group both socially and spiritually. Throughout the week, we also have different Bible studies — for women, men, freshmen and other groups. It’s geared toward athletes, but others are welcome too.
Q: Do you think your faith has a role in your life as an athlete?
A: On Sunday, on the 16th greenway, it was a pivotal put. I just said a quick prayer right there. I’m not saying [the ball] went in because of that, but there was a great calming feeling. I feel like God really helped me pull through the whole day.
Q: How do you feel about the Ivy League Championship this coming weekend?
A: It’s a tournament that we circled on the calendar at the start of the season as our goal. For golf especially, the Ivy League Championships are important, in that the only way we can get to the NCAA tournament is by winning our regional tournament. It really determines if we continue our season. We didn’t have our best showing at the start of the season, but after the [Lacrosse Homes Collegiate Invitational] in Maryland, we re-assessed. Each week we’ve gotten better, and our scores have gotten lower. We were 13th in the first event, eighth in our home tournament and first this weekend. We’re just really having a good week of practice, and we’re all excited.
Q: Are there any teams or individuals you think will be particularly challenging in the Ivies?
A: It’s pretty wide open. I wouldn’t hesitate to say that we’re one of the top teams. Penn’s always a very good team; they’re the defending champions. Columbia’s playing well. Harvard won our home tournament. Cornell’s been playing well all year. There are about five or six teams that really have a chance — us included.
Q: What do you like or dislike about playing golf at Yale versus in North Carolina?
A: [Yale’s] golf course is year after year voted as the top college course in the country. It’s a course that you really never get bored playing. It’s very challenging. You see something new every day, which allows you to work on different parts of your game. One thing I dislike at Yale is playing in the weather, coming from North Carolina. We’re often playing in rough conditions [in New Haven], but I think it’s actually helped my game. I’ve had to learn how to play in different types of conditions, so I think it’s been a positive.
Q: What did the golf team do over spring break?
A: The NCAA allows us to go on an international trip every four years, and this year was our United Kingdom trip. We started in England for five days and then spent six days in Scotland. It was an amazing experience. We got to play at seven of the top 100 courses in the world. We had unbelievable hosts at the clubs; they were very welcoming and nice. There was some strong wind but not much rain, so we got pretty good weather. It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip — the nine players on the team and our two coaches being able to share a trip to England and Scotland, the birthplace of golf.
Q: Do you have plans to play golf after Yale?
A: It’s always been a dream of mine to play on the PGA tour. When I started Yale, I said, “If I can get two wins in college, I’ll go pro.” I got one last week, so I need one or two more wins to fulfill my goal. If I do decide to do it, I would set a goal for two years and say that if I got to a certain level, then I’d continue with it, but if not, I’d put the clubs down. I would never want to look back in 20 years and regret not ever trying. Yeah, I would love to do it.