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Rodgers leads at Porter Cup

LEWISTON -- Stanford-bound Patrick Rodgers of Avon, Ind., followed up his first-round 68 with a 7-under 63 this morning and holds a three-shot advantage early in the second round of the Porter Cup. Rodgers kept his momentum enact with a difficult sand save on 18 (pictured here). Playing partner Andrew Yun , a Stanford junior, came within 6 inches of acing 18.
--Bob DiCesare

Rodgers leads at Porter Cup

Drizzle at Porter Cup

LEWISTON- Bit of light rain this morning at Niagara Falls CC. I'm told it should clear but I've covered enough of these to know the weather on the escarpment doesn't lend itself to predictability. No delays. Leader Paul Haley just started his second round.
--Bob DiCesare

Drizzle at Porter Cup

Live from the Porter Cup first round

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

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 ...

---Jay Skurski

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Called up to the majors

   July 27, 1965 -- Times were tough for the New York Mets during much of the early 1960's. They were usually around the basement of the National League after entering organized baseball as an expansion team in 1962.

   As you might expect, there wasn't much help in the farm system either. Ask the Buffalo Bisons of 1965.

   When bad baseball is mentioned in these parts, that '65 team comes up. Buffalo started the season with an 8-21 record at the end of May. On this date, the Bisons were 30-79 and had lost 13 in a row.

   Manager Warren "Sheriff" Robinson was called up to the big club at this point. Manager Casey Stengel had broken his hip, and the Mets needed help on the coaching staff. Stengel retired the next month at the age of 75.

   Kerby Farrell replaced Robinson, and he did bring some signs of life to the franchise. The Bisons went 21-17 the rest of the way, but it added up to 51-96 for the season. Buffalo switched affiliations to the Reds in 1966.

   That '65 team had a few players who helped the Mets win the pennant in 1969, such as Cleon Jones and Bud Harrelson. But the Bisons hit .234 as a team, no small accomplishment for a team that played in War Memorial Stadium.

--- Budd Bailey

Porter Cup tee times for the first and second rounds

The Porter Cup has announced its starting times for the first and second rounds of the tournament at Niagara Falls Country Club.

Here is the list.

Group 1 - Cameron Smith, Cody Gribble, Camerson Wilson. 8 a.m. Wed., 10:30 a.m. Thurs.

Group 2 - Tim Hart, Bobby Hudson, Brooks Koepka. 8:10 a.m. Wed., 10:40 a.m. Thurs.

Group 3 - Kalem Richardson, Dave Bunker, Chris Covelli. 8:20 a.m. Wed., 10:50 a.m. Thurs.

Group 4 - Ryan McCarthy, Scott Harvey, Michael Boss. 8:30 a.m. Wed., 11 a.m. Thurs.

Group 5 - Tarquin MacManus, Ethan Tracy, Donald Constable. 8:40 a.m. Wed., 11:10 a.m. Thurs.

Group 6 - Nathan Holman, Tripp Davis, Jeb Buchanan. 8:50 a.m. Wed., 11:20 a.m. Thurs.

Group 7 - Jorge Fernandez Valdez, Paul Haley, Daniel Nisbet. 9 a.m. Wed., 11:30 a.m. Thurs.

Group 8 - Emiliano Grillo, Sebastian Maclean, Julio Vegas. 9:10 a.m. Wed., 11:40 a.m. Thurs.

Group 9 - Garrett Rank, Sebastian Pinzon, Brad Wilder. 9:20 a.m. Wed., 11:50 a.m. Thurs.

Group 10 - Mackenzie Hughes, Lee Bedford, Curtis Thompson. 9:30 a.m. Wed., noon Thurs.

Group 11 - Jace Long, Evan Beck, Mark Hoffman. 9:40 a.m. Wed., 12:10 p.m. Thurs.

Group 12 - Zachary Kempa, Kenneth Riter, Doug Kleeschulte. 9:50 a.m. Wed., 12:20 p.m. Thurs.

Group 13 - Ryan Terdik, Don DeNyse III, PJ Alterio. 10 a.m. Wed., 12:30 p.m. Thurs.

Group 14: Brian Churchill-Smith, Chris Malec, Matt Stasiak. 10:10 a.m. Wed., 12:40 p.m. Thurs.

Group 15: Daniel Kim, Mitch Sutton, Tim Hume. 10:20 a.m. Wed., 8 a.m. Thurs.

Group 16: Albin Choi, Cheng Tsung Pan, Lam Zhiqun. 10:30 a.m. Wed., 8:10 a.m. Thurs.

Group 17: Chris Morris, Alex Ching, Bank Vongvanij. 10:40 a.m. Wed., 8:20 a.m. Thurs.

Group 18: Gregor Main, Scott Langley, James White. 10:50 a.m. Wed., 8:30 a.m. Thurs.

Group 19: Corbin Mills, Patrick Rodgers, Andrew Yun. 11 a.m. Wed., 8:40 a.m. Thurs.

Group 20: Russell Henley, Jake Katz, John Peterson. 11:10 a.m. Wed., 8:50 a.m. Thurs.

Group 21: Harris English, Nathan Smith, David Chung. 11:20 a.m. Wed., 9 a.m. Thurs.

Group 22: Nick Gilliam, Kelly Kraft, Stephan Jaeger. 11:30 a.m. Wed., 9:10 a.m. Thurs.

Group 23: John Hahn, Skip Berkmeyer Jr., Nate McCoy. 11:40 a.m. Wed., 9:20 a.m. Thurs.

Group 24: Bryden Macpherson, Mike McCoy, Max Homa. 11:50 a.m. Wed., 9:30 a.m. Thurs.

Group 25: Johan de Beer, Justin Thomas, Jonathan Fly. noon Wed., 9:40 a.m. Thurs.

Group 26: Wesley Bryan, Harold Varner III, Todd Sinnott. 12:10 p.m. Wed., 9:50 a.m. Thurs.

---Jay Skurski

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Ousted Destroyers

     July 26, 2002 -- The Buffalo Destroyers' exit from the Arena Football League's playoffs was as quiet as their performance down the stretch of the regular season.

     The Destroyers lost their first-round playoff game against the Predators in Orlando, 32-27. Buffalo lost its last five games to finish with a 6-9 record overall, including the playoffs.

     The Destroyers held Orlando off the scoreboard for the final quarter in the high-scoring game, but couldn't score themselves. A couple of turnovers proved costly.

     Buffalo had one last chance at the end, needing a 45-yard touchdown on the game's last play. Quarterback Jeff Loots was hit as he stepped out of the pocket and fumbled. Orlando recovered as time expired.

     Predators' quarterback Jay Gruden threw for four touchdown passes. He is the younger brother of former Tampa Bay (NFL) coach Jon Gruden.

     That was it for the postseason record of the Buffalo franchise -- 0-2. The Destroyers missed the playoffs in 2003 and then moved to Columbus, Ohio.

--- Budd Bailey

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Missing from action

     July 25, 1998 -- Chris Spielman was the major topic of conversation around the Buffalo Bills' training camp on this date, for all the wrong reasons.

     The veteran linebacker had announced the day before that he was taking the '98 season off because his wife Stephanie had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Indeed, she had already undergone surgery and started chemotherapy.

     The reaction around the team was quick and sympathetic.

      "It's a great loss, but the greater loss is his wife coming down with such an illness," cornerback Ken Irvin said. "That's the most important thing, the condition of his wife. His wife needs him, and it's a great thing that he's doing."

     "Naturally, we understand Chris' decision," coach Wade Phillips said.

     Spielman tried to make a comeback in 1999, but retired after suffering a neck injury. Stephanie died in 2009 after cancer returned for the fifth time.

--- Budd Bailey

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: A sad climax

     July 24, 2002 -- What had seemed impossible just a few short months before became reality on this day.

     John Rigas along with sons Timothy and Michael were arrested in New York City and charged with conspiracy to commit security fraud. The family founded Adelphia Communications and owned the Buffalo Sabres.

     Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Thompson at a news conference called the alleged crimes as "brazen thefts" of hundreds of millions of dollars. He added, "The complaint alleges that members of the Rigas family systematically looted the company ... of hundreds of millions of dollars."

     John Rigas had built a small company out of Coudersport, Pa., into the sixth-largest cable company in America. Along the way, he took control of the Sabres and used it as the center piece for a cable channel, the Empire Sports Network.

     Rigas and his two sons eventually went to prison. The NHL quickly stripped Rigas of the Sabres, and Tom Golisano later purchased the team.

     The lasting image of the entire matter was that of John Rigas doing a "perp walk" -- a walk through a public place so that television cameras can record the person's disgrace. It will be shown whenever Rigas' name comes up forever.

--- Budd Bailey

This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Getting to work

     July 23, 1987 -- The opening of training sessions is usually associated with optimism that better times are ahead for a sports team. It usually is applied to baseball teams, but football teams sometimes can feel it too.

     On this particular date, though, optimism really was everywhere for the Buffalo Bills. The Bills started training camp with a couple of important figures on the job right from the start for the first time.

     Marv Levy had been hired in miseason in 1986 to replace Hank Bullough as head coach. That sort of action usually doesn't work too well immediately in football; it takes a training camp for a new coach to install his system.

     Levy was looking forward to working with his quarterback in that camp. Jim Kelly had been signed the previous year just before the start of the regular season, and now had a chance to get some work done.

     The whole team gathered at Fredonia for camp, with the exception of Shane Conlon. The first round draft choice was holding out for a contract.

--- Budd Bailey

Running Notebook: Hot, hot, hot

     Hot enough for you? Ho, ho, ho.

     January's Snowball Run, held in 4 inches of snow, would almost be welcome about now. Temperatures this week have been over the 90-degree mark in many locations, which is very unseasonable.

     I talked with Jeff Hardy, the race director of the Tim Frank Memorial Race in Tonawanda, on Wednesday. He said he'd have to talk to some experts before making the decision to actually stage his race the next day. He obviously got the green light, and there were no reports of heat-related problems. Several people did mention to me afterwards that the beverages tasted particularly good.

     So be careful out there as we head into a weekend with more heat expected.

     Here's the weekend schedule, courtesy of

     * Mental Health 5K Race, Delaware Park in Buffalo, 6:30 p.m. tonight, 634-5052.

     * Crabapple 5K Run, Stiglmeier Park at Losson Road in Cheektowaga, 9 a.m. Saurday, 897-7207.

     * Lindsay Matthew Scholarship Race, 5K, 6909 Milestrip Road in Orchard Park, 10 a.m. Sunday.

     Meanwhile, Jeff at also has compiled the latest standings in The News' Runner of the Year series. Dan Giza still has a huge lead, while Allison Carr has taken the lead in the women's division.

--- Budd Bailey

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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.