Hall leads at Porter Cup with first-round 64

Gavin Hall on the par-4 ninth at Niagara Falls Country Club during the first round of the Porter Cup.
Gavin Hall on the par-4 ninth at Niagara Falls Country Club during the first round of the Porter Cup. ( Alexander Fisher )

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Live scoring

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LEWISTON, N.Y. – On a day when the wind howled from start to finish, two Texas Longhorns sit atop the leaderboard after the first round of the 56th Porter Cup.

Sophomore Gavin Hall shot a 6-under 64 and incoming freshman Taylor Funk shot 65 at Niagara Falls Country Club.

Hall, a three-time participant of the event, got off to a fast start on Wednesday by making a birdie and an eagle putt in his first three holes. It was his lowest first round at the Porter Cup.

“I’ve always been around even par after my first round, so I wanted to come out here this year and play a good first and second round if I can,” Hall said.

Hall, 19, said that his bounce-back birdie at the par-4 10th was the most important part of his round.

“It was really important,” said Hall, who was 5 under through eight holes before making his lone bogey of the day, at No. 9. “It really could have went two ways. I could have made another bogey and went back to 2 or 3 under. Instead, I make a birdie to get back to 5 under.”

With the rough especially long this week, Hall said his game plan of hitting fairways and greens paid off tremendously in the first round.

“It was all about giving myself a lot of chances, and I definitely did that today,” he said.

Funk, a native of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., made three birdie putt on Nos. 8,9, and 12 from over 25 feet, while adding in four more.

“You don’t expect to make those, you’re just trying to get them close and they go in and it’s nice,” Funk said. “I was able to putt well on these good bent grass greens, so it was fun. “

He made bogeys on the short par-4 10th, which played as one of the easier holes on the day, and the par-4 17th.

It was the closing holes (Nos. 16-17) that wrecked havoc on some of the field. No. 17 played at the hardest hole on opening day followed by the par-3 16th and par-3 18th.

“Sometimes it (the wind) tends to get up like that in the afternoon … I have seen it a little bit like this, but fortunately the greens are playing a little bit receptive so it helps,” Hall said.

Simon Viitakangas of Australia sits in third place after a 4-under 66, which included an eagle at the par-4 15th. He hit driver off the tee and it landed 10 feet from the cup and calmly made his putt. Five players shot 67 and six others shot 68 on Wednesday. The second round begins at 8:30 a.m. EDT on Thursday.