LEWISTON -- Good afternoon from Niagara Falls Country Club. We're in the shade under the media tent here at the 53rd annual Porter Cup, and that's a good thing. It's hot out here, with not much of a breeze to speak of.
That last part is key. The 6,837-yard, par-70 course depends on the wind to protect it. When it's not blowing, scores can go low. A look at the leader board so far shows that.
University of Texas junior Cody Gribble was in the first group out, and has the clubhouse lead with a 4-under 66. Gribble, who lost in a playoff in this event in 2009, went out in 36, but shot a blistering 30 on the back nine. He recorded birdies on holes 10, 11, 13, 15 and 16.
The lead might not last the day, though, as five players -- Paul Haley, Doug Kleeschulte, Daniel Nesbit, Cheng Tsung Pan and Garrett Rank -- made the turn at 3 under.
Also in the clubhouse at 3-under 67 is Australian Ryan McCarthy. The feature group of Jake Katz, Russell Henley and John Peterson should be making the turn any minute now. I'll post their nine-hole scores soon.
Just a heads up as you follow the blog today: I'm by myself out here, so when I go out on the course to watch, the blog will go dark for a bit. You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jayskurski
I'll post any news-worthy items there from the course. Check back soon.
Katz made the turn at 1 under, shooting 34 on the front.
4:21 p.m.:Told you it would be quite a while before an update. Anyway, here we go. The first-round leader is Paul Haley of Dallas, who posted a 64. That leaves him one shot ahead of Australian Daniel Nesbit and Garrett Rank of Ontario.
4:23 p.m.: GREAT interview with John Peterson, the reigning NCAA individual champ. Read tomorrow's notebook for the details. Peterson is my new favorite player.
4:25 p.m.: Very nice round by Mike Boss, who recently graduated from Lewiston-Porter. Boss, the son of NFCC head pro John Boss, shot an even-par 70, the best score of the five locals in the field.
4:27 p.m.: Jake Katz finishes in 1-over 71, a disappointing start for the 22-year-old who plays out of Westwood. Katz, Peterson and pre-tournament favorite Russell Henley all shot 71 in the first round. Just didn't seem to be much energy in that feature pairing.
4:29 p.m.: Spoke with Harris English, who won last week's Nationwide Tour event. He gets 60 days to turn professional, which is perfect. He'll be able to play for the Walker Cup team in September, then still play the end of this season on the Nationwide Tour. He's also fully exempt for next season on the Nationwide Tour.
4:54 p.m.: Some other noteworthy finishes: Defending champion David Chung shot a 2-over 72, while four-time Buffalo District champion Tim Hume, who now resides in Tampa, Fla., also shot 72. Hume couldn't sustain his momentum after going out in 33.
6:35 p.m.: First round is in the books. Haley is at 64, while Nesbit and Rank are at 65. Might have another blog later tonight if time allows. If not, the second round starts tomorrow at 8 a.m. You'll be in the capable hands of Bob DiCesare for that. Until then ...
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