Friday was moving day for a number of golfers all across the Niagara Falls country club. The week’s low of 64 (Justin Shin, round one) was eclipsed by two golfers and 28 golfers (one-third of the field) broke par. That, friends, is just the beginning of what went down in round three of the 2013 Porter Cup. Fasten your harness and lock your eyes to the screen. Here is the rundown of thing you think I don’t know (For those in a hurry, click here for Saturday tee times.)
Shotaro Ban was that close to a record-setting round. The UCal sophomore stood minus-seven on the day, inside the top ten, with an eye on catching the leaders, as he stepped to the 14th tee. Four holes and four bogies later, the magic had left the wand and Ban found himself in a tie for 19th place.
Canada likes its chances in the final round. The leader is Taylor Pendrith (one of the two 63s on Friday) from Richmond Hill, Ontario and Kent State University. Pendrith slapped seven birdies and eleven pars on the card to take a one-stroke lead on first-round leaver Justin Shin. Shin hails from Hamilton, Ontario and competes for New Mexico State University.
Australia already has one green jacket in 2013, courtesy of Adam Scott. Brady Watt hopes to make it two. The Yanchep native recovered patiently from a first-hole bogey on Friday to add six birdies and shoot his second consecutive, mid-sixties score. Unless the three golfers ahead of him all suffer from a case of the jitters, Watt will need a 63 on Saturday to make a serious run at the title.
Tyler Dunlap’s third round could be summed up statistically as birdie-eagle-bogey-bogey-bogey. Kind of like the late Severiano Ballesteros’ explanation of a four-putt green: I miss, I miss, I miss, I make. Dunlap made absolutely nothing happen, yet is still in the mix despite an even-par Saturday.
Western New York is still searching for the next Jake Katz. Michael Carrig and Patrick Sheedy began Friday in a tie for 25th place. Rounds of even par would have kept them in the top 30 and a sub-par round was certainly there for the taking. Carrig had zero birdies in his 76 and Sheedy had seven bogies and a double in his 77. Lewiston’s Michael Boss shot 70, despite a late double bogey, and moved into a tie for the local lead with Carrig.
I’ll be interested to see what Matt NeSmith writes down on his card on Saturday. The tall South Carolinian reminds me of another Palmetto state product: Bill Haas. NeSmith had seven birdies in his Friday 63. Another one won’t win him the tournament, but it should move him into the top ten and provide motivation as the summer amateur circuit comes to a close in a few weeks.
No candidates for the Walker Cup have improved their standing this week, unless I’m missing something. Unlike 2009, when Brendan Gielow’s win may/may not have clinched a spot on the team, or 2011, when Patrick Rodgers burst onto the adult amateur scene with a win at Niagara Falls, no one near the lead seems to be in the running for one of the three spots not dedicated to mid-amateurs, which brings us to …
Do any of the mid-amateurs want a spot on the team? Scott Harvey is currently tied for 19th, the highest-ranked mid-amateur after three rounds. Nick Gilliam (T23) and Tim Mickelson (T29) come next. Coming into the Porter Cup, all three would have been labeled Outsiders by those following the Walker Cup Mid-Amateur saga. Unfathomable are the performances of Todd White (T39 at +3), Bobby Leopold (T46 at +5) and Nathan Smith (81st at +17) the three most likely candidates for the two mid-am spots at the beginning of the week.