Porter Cup: Gavin Hall in position to win elusive title
21 Jul 2017
by David McPherson of AmateurGolf.com

see also: View results for Porter Cup, Niagara Falls Country Club, Gavin Hall Rankings

Before turning pro, Gavin Hall would love to win the Porter Cup
Before turning pro, Gavin Hall would love to win the Porter Cup

LEWISTON, New York (July 21, 2017) -- Moving day at Niagara Falls Country Club saw several players take advantage of prime scoring conditions to put themselves into contention heading into the final round of the Porter Cup.

When the last ball dropped Friday, marking the end of the first 54 holes, four players (Brandon Wu, Christopher Petefish, Gavin Hall, and Travis Smyth) were tied atop the leaderboard at 5-under-par.

Wu, who started the day with a one-shot lead, stalled on moving day, dropping a stroke to the field. Australian Smyth, who began the day 1 shot behind Wu, shot an even par round to remain in the same position as when he teed off shortly before noon on Friday.

Petefish played steady on the opening nine, making the turn at even par for the day. He then made back-to-back birdies on holes 11 and 12 to briefly take the lone lead at -7 by two shots. Unfortunately, the Georgia Tech golfer from California couldn’t close out his round the way he began; he finished with back-to-back bogeys that brought him back to the field.

The Pittsford, NY phenom Gavin Hall and Harrison Endycott of Australia both birdied two of their first four holes, getting off to a fast start. Unfortunately back-to-back bogies on the back 9 (holes 12 and 13) dropped Hall out of the lead he held for most of the third round. Five finishing pars gave him a share of the lead.

“It’s definitely to win,” Hall told Buffalo News when asked about his outlook, given the number of close calls include the second last year. "It’s not easy dealing with expectations, coming here and being expected to play well. But it’s a challenge I’m ready to face. I did a good job last year with it, and this year is no different. I feel I can go out there and compete and be in the hunt in the back nine.”

Hall’s amateur career is most likely drawing to a close this summer, so a win here would be timely. The 22-year-old, who currently sits 36th in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Amateur Rankings, would love to add the prestigious Porter Cup to his many titles. It’s one trophy he’s missing. He has beat talented fields to win back-to-back Rochester District championships. Heck, besides his golf career at University of Texas Hall played the U.S. Open in 2013 at Merion when he was still a teenager.

Today his teammate Doug Ghim won a "Major of Amateur Golf" on the opposite coast, as he closed out a victory at the prestigious Pacific Coast Amateur at Chambers Bay. Maybe Hall can make it a "Hook 'em Horns" weekend.

On moving day, Hall got off to a fast start and played a steady round that left him in position to win that elusive title come Saturday. Hall tied for second as a 15-year-old in 2010, tied for eighth in 2013 and 2014 and placed third in 2014. He was runner-up again last summer, finishing a shot behind Australian Harrison Endycott. Tomorrow he’ll have his chance to win the elusive trophy when he plays in one of the final groups. It's a course he loves, similar to the one he grew up playing.

“It just reminds me of a similar course I grew up on, Mendon Golf Club back home,” he said. “Kind of tighter off the tee. You’ve got to be in play. If you put it in the fairway you usually have a wedge or a scoring club in your hand. It just suits my eye and I get a positive feeling when I come to this tournament.”

Cristian DiMarco, who started the day just one shot off the lead, headed in the opposite direction. He was 3-over through the first nine holes and finished the day at 4-over (1-under overall); the recent Florida Amateur winner will need to go low to have a chance on Saturday.

Canadian Luke Moser from Waterloo, Ontario, continued his steady play. His round included four birdies and two bogeys; Moser posted a -2 (68), which puts him two shots back and within striking distance.

Justin Tereshko made the biggest move on moving day; he also posted the low round of the day — a four-under (66). The Guilford College men’s golf coach won the 57th North Carolina Amateur Championship at the River Run Country Club last month. He'll need another low one to make a run since he currently sits seven shots off the lead.

The stage is set for a sizzling Saturday finish at the 58th playing of this historic event.

Results: Porter Cup
1NYBrandon WuScarsdale, NY120068-66-71-64=269
2CAChris PetefishDanville, CA90066-69-70-67=272
3NYGavin HallPittsford, NY70069-67-69-68=273
4AustraliaTravis SmythAustralia70066-69-70-70=275
T5OHIan HoltStow, OH70070-70-70-66=276

View full results for Porter Cup

ABOUT THE Porter Cup

One of the premier amateur events in the nation, this 72-hole stroke play invitational has lots of extra activities that give this event a special flavor. The winning player receives a green blazer, as well as an invitation to the Master of the Amateurs tournament in Melbourne, Australia. Pre- tournament qualifying is a few weeks prior to the event and approximately five spots are available. The qualifying field is open to the first 90 entrants with handicaps less than 3.

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