When we found Gavin Hall on Friday, he was in a relaxed position, on the third tee. If you’re not a belieber, see the photo collage below. Minutes later, he unleashed a cannon of a drive and made his first birdie of the day on the par five. He followed that red number with six more, including three consecutive over the arduous stretch from holes 7 through 9. True, there were bogies on two par-three holes (4 and 16) but the UTexas golfer comfort and affection for this golf course and tournament was evident for all 18 holes.
Hall sits at 14-under par after three rounds. He’s in a comfortable position, but certainly not so distant from his competition that’s it’s all about him on Saturday. Harrison Endycott of Sydney, Australia is in 2nd position after a 3rd-round 67, and will join Hall for a second consecutive stroll around the grounds. The margin of separation between the two is four strokes. Joining them will be the fellow repping the mid-amateurs, Justin Tereshko of Jamestown, N.C., positioned 4 more back at -6. Both Endycott and Tereshko had break-out victories in the last year. Endycott triumphed in the 2016 South Australia amateur, while Tereshko claimed the 2015 North Carolina Open. A win at the Porter Cup, however, is a level, a different matter.
Gavin Hall didn’t have far to travel, from Pittsford to Lewiston. This might explain the absence of an entourage. No caddy, no advisors, no gallery, just a golfer and his bag of sticks. Hall appears to keep it far simpler than many in competitive golf these days, a reminder of a different time, a different type of golfer. The tournament’s gallery has known him since age 15, when he tied for 2nd with now-pro Peter Uihlein. Injuries and close calls over the years have ingrained him in Porter Cup lore. His presence atop the leader board in advance of 2016’s final round is appropriate. This tournament’s playing has been about him from the start. Now it remains to be seen who will don the green jacket and hoist the cup on Saturday afternoon.
The tournament experience its second consecutive bolt of golf lightning (an ace) when Elma’s David Hanes holed out on the par-three 7th hole. The score of one propelled him to a 68 on the day, tied with Ben Reichert’s opener for low local score of the tournament. Lewiston native Michael Boss continues to lead the local chart after a 70 kept him in the top 35. Hanes is next, three strokes back, in a tie for 47th. Jamie Miller and Reichert are tied for 52nd and Bill Gaffney rounds out the local top five at 55th place.