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Inside the Ropes: Two-time winner Moore looks for more

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Ryan Moore was stamped for greatness even before he arrived on the PGA Tour in 2005, following a dream season in the amateur ranks the year before.

So far, he's been good but certainly not great as a pro.

Moore, who defends his title this week in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas, won almost everything in sight in his last year as an amateur.

The native of Tacoma, Wash., captured the U.S. Amateur Championship, his second U.S. Amateur Public Links title, the Western Amateur Championship and the Sahalee Players Championship.

Moore also was medalist at the World Amateur Team Championship, helping the United States claim the title at Rio Mar Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.

In addition, he captured the NCAA individual championship in his senior year at UNLV, and he was selected as the winner of the Nicklaus, Hogan and Haskins awards as College Player of the Year.

After tying for 13th to finish as low amateur in the 2005 Masters and finishing 57th when he made the cut in the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, he turned pro and picked up right where he left off.

Moore tied for second in the Bell Canadian Open, finishing one stroke behind Mark Calcavecchia. When he tied for 13th in the Funai Classic at Walt Disney World, it gave him $686,250 in 12 events.

That was the equivalent of finishing 120th on the money list and made him the first player since Tiger Woods in 1996 to earn his PGA Tour card without going to Q-school.

Great expectations don't always lead to stardom, but Moore, 30, is not unhappy with his career.

"I had some tough stuff happen early in my career with a couple injuries that just kind of derailed me and slowed me down a little bit," said Moore, whose only other PGA Tour victory came in the 2009 Wyndham Championship, when he beat Jason Bohn and Kevin Stadler with a birdie on the third playoff hole.

"No, I don't think I had unrealistic expectations," he added. "I've won golf tournaments all my life at every level I've been at, so to expect to go out and play well and win, I think that's a normal thing in the position I was in.

"Of course, I would have liked it to come a little sooner and a little bit more often, but I'm a multiple winner on tour now. I think that's huge for me and my career and moving forward."

When he won last year at TPC Summerlin, holing a four-foot par putt on the final hole to beat Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe by one stroke, it was thought the flood gates might open for Moore.

His name showed up on leaderboards often enough this season, as he posted opening-round scores of 67 or better nine times in 2013. However, he managed only three top-10 finishes, the best being a tie for fourth in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

"This year has been a little bit of a rebuilding year for me, just kind of working on some new things, but I'm really excited (about my game)," said Moore, who finished 51st in the FedEx Cup standings this season and failed to qualify for the Tour Championship after winding up 11th in the 2012 standings. "I'm excited for (the Shriners) to come around."

Last year's victory meant a lot to Moore, and not only because it came in Las Vegas.

He took it as a validation.

"I guess if you've won one tournament, at some point in your career maybe you got lucky and got a little hot," said Moore, who shot 10-under-par 61 in round one last year to tie the course record at TPC Summerlin set by Davis Love III in 2001 and matched by Tag Ridings in 2004 and Hunter Haas in 2011.

"Maybe you just kind of had that perfect week where you got everything going. But to win again, you're proving that it's not a fluke. It's not just something that is just going to happen because you had a good week.

"You're proving that you're capable of doing it over and over again, and obviously I'd love to have a few more wins at this point in time in my career, but at least to have won twice, that's huge."

Even though it's not yet great.
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