Pick your story line. Really. I’ll give you a list:
–Miraculous recovery of the golf course from the winter of 13-14;
–Remember Me? Gavin Hall re-exerts himself at one of his favorite tracks;
–Remember My Dad? Taylor Funk proves that not all Funk golfers hit it short;
–G’Day! Australian golfers do their level best to take over the Porter Cup from UTexas squad
Add to those four notions the twenty rounds of golf under par and this year’s edition of the Porter Cup (the 56th for those who crunch numbers) began in a mighty fun way! For starters, the weather held off and there were no round-one delays. I have my own guess as to why that happened but, since I don’t wish to jinx the proceedings, will remain silent until 7 p.m. on Saturday the 26th.
If memory serves, it was either Simon Vitakangas from Australia, with a sublime birdie-eagle run on holes 14-15 on his way to a 66, or Trevor Sluman of Rochester, with five birdies of his own, to post three-under 67 for the initial clubhouse lead. Soon after, Taylor Funk overtook both golfers with an attention-grabbing, seven-birdie performance. Marred only by two bogies, the incoming UTexas freshman initialed his card for 65 and what appeared to be the first-round lead.
Gavin Hall had other ideas. Hall is not a soap opera character, although his young story has the trappings of one:
–First played in Porter Cup in 2010 at age 15, tied Peter Uihlein for 2nd behind David Chung;
–Injured wrist and took two years off from tournament to recuperate;
–Enrolled at UCLA, only to transfer one semester in to UTexas;
–Returned to Porter Cup in 2013 and claimed an admirable, 8th-place tie.
–Posted five birdies and an eagle against one lonely bogey for 1st-round lead at 2014 Porter Cup.
Granted, it’s not Justin Bieber, but who wants it to be? For a college golfer, it’s plenty interesting.
Recent International Junior Masters champion Will Thomson (all of 13 years old), absent defending champion Taylor Pendrith (selfishly playing in his national open championship of Canada instead), recent USGA Public Links finalist Doug Ghim and fan favorites Scott Harvey and Denny McCarthy made for other relevant story lines, but a man can only go to the well so often!
Leaders’ Thursday Tee Times
Gavin Hall @9:30 w/Scott Harvey and Robert Mize
Taylor Funk @ 12:30 w/Patrick Sheedy and Kristian Caparros
Simon Vitakangas @ 11:10 w/Will Murphy and Keelan Kilpatrick
Shotaro Ban @ 11:20 w/Jaime Lopez Rivarola and Dale Brandt-Richards
Max Buckley @ 9:00 w/ John Sawin and Michael Johnson
Geoff Drakeford @ 11:40 w/ Zander Lombard and Garrett Rank
Ben Eccles @ 11:30 w/ Christian Bezuidenhout and Alejandro Tosti
Bobby Holden @ 9:50 w/ Doug Ghim and Danny Guise
Trevor Sluman @ 10:50 w/ Bryce Chalkey and Tripp Davis
Photography courtesy of Alex Fisher Photography