Maxwell Moldovan breaks 28-year-old scoring record in Southern Amateur runaway

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Justin Leonard, the 1997 British Open champion, has been a familiar presence on the Open broadcast all week. But Leonard’s name had another reason to enter the golf conversation this week. On Saturday, 19-year-old Maxwell Moldovan shattered the previous South Amateur scoring record that Leonard had held since 1993.

Moldovan won with a 72-hole total of 2-under 264 at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Mississippi. Leonard’s winning Southern Am score in ’93 was 270.

For Moldovan, who is entering his sophomore year at Ohio State, it’s a major breakthrough and the sign of a drought ending.

“I haven’t won a major golf tournament in just over two years now,” Moldovan told the Southern Golf Association. “To put myself in a position to do that this week and to play the way I played yesterday and today, it feels incredible.”

Scores: Southern Amateur

Moldovan, from Uniontown, Ohio, was a highly touted junior. He was the AJGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 2019 and was a two-time Ohio High School State Champion (2017, 2018) in addition to the 2019 Ohio Amateur champion. His freshman season with the Buckeyes was partially upended by COVID-19. Teams in the Big Ten didn’t compete until the spring season. Still, in eight starts this season, Moldovan averaged 71.5, the best on the team, and finished in the top 10 three times. That included a runner-up finish at the loaded Valspar Collegiate.

At Old Waverly, Moldovan strung together rounds of 64-68-65-67. He didn’t make a bogey in either of his final two rounds.

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Since Ohio State bowed out of the postseason in May by failing to advance through the NCAA Tallahassee Regional, Moldovan has been busy. The Southern Am marks his fifth competitive start this summer. It’s his best result since finishing 11th at the Dogwood Invitational to start the summer.

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