Shin leads Hossler, Dunlap by one at Porter Cup

Justin Shin's victory at the Northeast Amateur is the biggest of his career.

LEWISTON, N.Y. – Justin Shin of Hamilton, Ontario, shot a 6-under 64 in the first round of the Porter Cup on Wednesday. Shin fired a 6-under 29 on the back nine at Niagara Falls Country Club, which ties a back-nine course record shot by Brandt Snedeker in 2003. Shin leads by one over Beau Hossler of Mission Viejo, Calif., and Tyler Dunlap of Trophy Club, Texas.

Shin shot an even-par 35 in the chilly, windy morning after making two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine.

He proceeded to get on a hot streak starting on No. 10 with a 10-foot birdie.

“That’s where I built some momentum,” Shin said.

He made pars on the par-5 11th and the difficult par-3 12th, which played at only 130 yards.

From there, he went on to birdie five of his last six holes.

The New Mexico State senior made a 3-footer on No. 13 to build more momentum. On 14, he made a 20-footer after pushing his approach shot from the middle of the fairway, and did the same on No. 15, which was set up as a drivable par 4.

He thought his 50-footer on No. 16 was going to drop in as well as he started walking it in. Instead of going in, it hit the lip. He made par.

“Kind of an awkward moment,” Shin said.

He added a 30-foot right-to-left birdie putt at No. 17 before making a 4-footer on the par-3 18th. He made a total of 67 feet in putts during the first round.

Instead of staying in Lewiston for the week, Shin, 21, is driving back and forth from Hamilton after trying to qualify for this week’s RBC Canadian Open. If Shin would have qualified, he wouldn’t be playing in Lewiston but at Glen Abby Golf Club in nearby Oakville, Ontario.

A victory could be a nice consolation prize.

“I’m hitting the ball really well right now," Shin said. "I just have to keep it going to the next three days, and I think I will have a good result.”

• • •

LOW GROUP The pairing of Beau Hossler, Gavin Hall and Charlie Bull was a combined 9 under on the day. Hossler’s 5-under 65 led the way. Hall and Bull shot 2-under 68s.

“I got off to a very good start,” Hossler said.

He had a good bunker save on No. 2 and proceeded to go eagle-birdie on his next two holes. The eagle was a tap-in, from 2 feet.

The 2012 U.S. Open participant played with Hall, a 2013 U.S. Open participant, and his soon-to-be teammate at Texas.

“It was a very comfortable pairing today,” Hossler said. “Normally pairings don’t faze me either way, but it was nice.”

In August, Hossler and Hall will be starting their freshman year in Austin. Hossler enrolled in January. He didn’t play competitive golf for the Longhorns this year but says his game improved tremendously.

“I’ve had a really good semester of practice,” he said. “I think I made a really good decision in taking the semester off. My mental game has got a lot better since I haven’t been playing, to be honest.”

Hall, who first decided on UCLA and then transferred – and redshirted this spring – will start at Texas this fall.

“I just gave information," Hossler said. "I didn’t try and sway him. I just wanted him to be happy with his decision. I know he is going to absolutely love school.”

• • •

SHORT SHOTS: Taylor Pendrith birdied five of his first six holes on the back nine Wednesday. Pendrith, a senior at Kent State, shot a 2-under 68. He said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a lot of low numbers on the back today.” . . . Defending champ Richy Werenski of South Hadley, Mass., shot an even-par 70 that consisted of three birdies and three bogeys. . . . Peter Williamson, who stayed amateur to try and make the 2013 Walker Cup team, is T-4 (3-under 67).

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