Greyson Porter (John Klein photography)
ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 30, 2018) – Lately, Greyson Porter
has been working on consistency. The Florida State junior’s game had seemingly hit a plateau, but on Sunday, a year that began with a playoff loss ended with a seven-shot victory built on the strength of three consecutive rounds in the 60s.
How’s that for stability?
Porter entered the final round of the Orlando International Amateur at Orange County National’s Panther Lakes course with a seven-shot lead on the field after opening rounds of 63-64.
“The first two days, everything was on and everything was clicking,” Porter said.
On an unseasonably sticky central-Florida day, the left-hander fought to score even though he didn’t quite have his A game. Despite lacking a recent experience to compare this to, Porter settled into the round, aimed for the “fat part” of the greens and played his own game. He started with a bogey, but it was the only one of the round. Four birdies followed for a final-round 3-under 68.
“Obviously, it’s the last day of the tournament so it’s a little more pressure but honestly that’s what I like – being in the last group in the last round,” Porter said of his winning 19-under total.
Even though the course played long on Sunday, 14 of the top 15 players on the leaderboard posted a round in the 60s. The sole 70 among that group, which belonged to Jeronimo Esteve in fourth, was still 2-under par.
By the time Porter made the turn, Florida State teammate John Pak had shown up in the gallery. It has been a productive winter break for the Seminoles, what with another teammate, Jonathan Keppler, winning the Dixie Amateur nine days ago. It’s also worth noting that the best score of the day belonged to Seminole senior Corey Carlson, who climbed 23 spots into a tie for fifth with a 7-under 65 that included four birdies and an eagle.
For Porter, who was fifth on the Florida State team in scoring for the fall semester, his junior season has been about getting in the lineup and staying in the lineup.
“I progressed this fall, absolutely,” he said. “I was kind of rebuilding a little bit. My tournament scores weren’t the best.”
Porter set a goal to contribute to the team as much as possible, and this season that meant posting a counting score in four of the six rounds in which he teed it up with the team.
The Clearwater, Fla., native recently sought out a fresh eye in Denny Lucas, a swing instructor based out of Jupiter, Fla. It has been a process.
“After awhile, I knew something would click and it just started to click this week,” Porter said.
To get there, Porter made a point of focusing on small goals that result in a little bit of progress each day. Porter likes how his short game has sharpened since entering college, but continues to work on consistent ball flight and hitting greens. Porter was pleased with his ball control at the Orlando International Amateur, and it was a big factor in his win.
Before heading back to Tallahassee for the spring season, Porter will again tee it up at the New Year’s Invitational at St. Petersburg Country Club, where he lost in a playoff to Missouri senior Hayden Buckley a year ago.
“Definitely looking for a little redemption back there,” Porter said.
While no one threatened Porter for this title, Zach Smith climbed four shots up the leaderboard to solo second at 12 under, giving Porter the closest thing to a chase. Smith is a senior at UC Santa Barbara.
Orlando native Canon Claycomb was third behind that at 11 under. Claycomb liked being able to sleep in his own bed for the week and eat home cooking.
“I think that’s part of the reason I’ve had some success here,” said the high school junior, who had another top 5 at the event a year ago.
ABOUT THE Orlando International Amateur
The Orlando International Amateur Championship is
an annual golf tournament gathering high-level
amateur golfers from the United States of America
and abroad. 54-hole stroke play championship,
playing 18 holes per day.
Open to low-handicap amateurs, players who play
college golf, players who have qualified for any of
current year's USGA or R&A championships, and
those who have the recommendation of their
country’s Federation or Association.
View Complete Tournament Information