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Recari takes early lead at Wegmans LPGA

PITTSFORD -- Spain's Beatriz Recari has the early lead today as the Wegmans LPGA Championship is underway at Locust Hill Country Club.

Recari carded a 3-under 69, starting at 8:21 a.m. from the 10th tee. That's the only score posted in the 60s thus far, as the 6,534-yard course is playing tougher this year than any in recent memory. The reason? The rough.

Past champion Cristie Kerr, who finished at 2-under 70, said it's as penalizing as she can remember it being here at Locust Hill.

Myself and Nick Veronica will have updates here throughout the day.

You can also follow us on Twitter -- @JaySkurski and @NickVeronica -- for more.

---Jay Skurski

Links updates on Katz and Covelli

A pair of Buffalo-area golfers are doing well on the links this week in the Sunshine State.

Williamsville's Jake Katz, who is living in Florida while pursuing a pro career, made his first cut Tuesday on the developmental National Golf Association Pro Golf Tour. Katz shot 2-under-par 70 in the second round at Orange County National's Crooked Cat course. Located outside Orlando, the course is a monster at 7,493 yards.

Katz is tied for 23rd at 1-under 143 through two rounds of the three-round event.

Buffalo's Chris Covelli, who provided Katz with some of his best competition this summer during Buffalo District Golf Association events, is participating in the inaugural South Beach International Amateur.

The field features five of the top 50 in the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking, including reigning U.S. Amateur champion Kelly Kraft of Texas (No. 5 in the world).

Covelli equated himself quite well, shooting a 1-under 69 in the first round atthe par-70 Normandy Shores Golf Club. That has him in a tie for sixth place. Olivier Rozner of France leads after carding a 5-under 65, while Kraft is tied for second after opening with a 66.

Covelli tees off at 8 a.m. Wednesday in the second round, which will be played on the par-71 Miami Beach Golf Club.

Four other locals -- Orchard Park's Jonathan Clark (75), Elma's Billy Hanes (78), Amherst's Jacob Kreuz (83) and Williamsville's Bill Gaffney (93) -- are also in the field.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Live Blog from the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony

Rodgers comes back to win 53rd Porter Cup

LEWISTON -- Hello once again from Niagara Falls Country Club. If there's been a nicer day this summer, I don't remember it.

Conditions couldn't be better for today's final round of the 53rd Porter Cup. The leader, Paul Haley of Dallas, just teed off on the first hole, so if you're thinking about coming out, pack up the car.

Haley is at 11 under through 54 holes, one shot up on Patrick Rodgers. A group of six players -- Wesley Bryan, Cameron Wilson, Ben Kohles, John Peterson, Tarquin MacManus and Tim Hart -- started the day three shots back at 8 under.

That could make for a crazy final round, just the way we like it.

Updates on the blog will be sporadic at best because I'll be spending most of my time out on the course today. I'm also going it alone once again today. For live updates, follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jayskurski

I'll be back when the leaders make the turn with an update.

UPDATE: Here's the scores that have been posted thus far: NFCC member PJ Alterio 76-309, Williamsville's Kenneth Riter 79-304, Jeb Buchanan 75-301, Lam Zhiqun 71-293, Nick Gilliam 70-293, Jorge Fernandez Valdes 72-293, Brad Wilder 72-292, Sebastian Pinzon 73-292, Jonathan Fly 69-292, Buffalo's Chris Covelli 71-292, Ethan Tracy 69-291, Ben Campbell 72-291, Nathan Holman 67-290, Brinson Paolini 70-289, Don DeNyse III 69-287.

1:09 p.m.: We've got a three-way tie atop the leader board. Haley bogeyed No. 1, while Bryan birdied the first two holes to jump to 10 under, joining Haley and Rodgers.

2:52 p.m.: Here are more scores that have been posted: Doug Kleeschulte 72-290, Brian Churchill-Smith 71-289, Todd Sinnott 70-287, Dave Bunker 70-287, Michael Boss 76-293, Scott Langley 74-291, Matt Stasiak of Clarence 71-288, Zachary Kempa 74-290, Tim Hume 73-289, Stephan Jaeger 69-285, Nathan Smith 72-287, Harold Varner III 69-284, Ryan Terdik 69-284, Gregor Main 73-287, James White 78-292, Bryden Macpherson 71-285, Brett Drewitt 71-284, David Chung 78-291, Mike McCoy 70-283, Bobby Hudson 72-284, Alex Ching 78-290, Kalem Richardson 73-285, Brooks Koepka 70-282, Mackenzie Hughes 69-280, Matthew Stieger 70-281, Jake Katz 70-281, Mark Hoffman 70-280, Daniel Kim 66-276, Russell Henley 73-283, Chris Malec 71-281, Max Homa 64-274, Denny McCarthy 72-282, Chris Morris 68-278.

3:12 p.m.: Homa's 64 is the round of the day so far, but it's in danger. Wesley Bryan is through 10 holes and has moved up to 14 under. He shot a blistering 29 on the front nine and holds a four-stroke lead on Haley, Peterson and Kohles.

6:09 p.m.: As we said earlier, a crazy round could be on hand. Turns out it was. Patrick Rodgers, a 19-year-old freshman-to-be at Stanford, has won the 53rd Porter Cup on the first playoff hole. Rodgers birdied the par-3 18th hole in the extra session. Check Sunday's Buffalo News for all the details.

---Jay Skurski

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 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 ...

---Jay Skurski

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

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Hall withdraws from Porter Cup

Rochester phenom Gavin Hall, the 16-year-old who tied for second at last year's Porter Cup, will not be back in Lewiston this year.

Hall withdrew from the event on Wednesday, because of a right wrist injury he suffered last month, according to tournament director Steve Denn.

"He saw a specialist in Atlanta on [Tuesday] and another guy in Buffalo on [Wednesday]," Denn said. "They prescribed at least two more weeks off. It's obviously tough news, but it's not unexpected."

Denn said last week he was holding out hope Hall, who's the No. 6 junior golfer in the country in the Golfweek/Titleist rankings, would be able to return from the injury in time for the event.

Hall also withdrew from this week's U.S. Junior Amateur, which is being held at Gold Mountain in Bremerton, Wash.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Releasing snowboard bindings proposed


     The Chris Zider Snowboarding Binding Design Challenge put up $20,000 in prize money to encourage people to design a snowboard binding that would release, freeing someone who has fallen into deep snow. It has announced the four finalists.
     "We're trying to save some lives, and hoping snowboarding companies and manufacturers will pick up on these ideas and help the inventors commercialize them," Bob Zider, whose son, Chris, fell into a tree well and suffocated, said in a press release. "We need input from engineers and boarders. The key criteria are technically solid design, and a device young, deep-powder boarders would buy (at less than $100)."
     The finalists propose bindings that would release when the boarder is upside down for 30 or 60 seconds, would be separated from the board by a small explosive device triggered remotely by the boarder, or would be release by a foot lever similar to those found on skis.
     You can check out and vote on the bindings at the challenge's facebook page.

-- Fletcher Doyle

 

Live from the final round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship

PITTSFORD -- Good afternoon from beautiful Locust Hill Country Club. We're here for today's final round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship. We, as in myself, Jay Skurski, along with columnist Bob DiCesare, sports reporter Ryan Marfurt and photographer Mark Mulville.

We drove through some pretty heavy rain showers along the Thruway, but there's no rain right now at the course. The leaders are set to tee off in a few minutes. 

There are some good scores to be had today. Karen Stupples is already in with a 7-under 65 that featured six birdies, an eagle and a bogey. That moved her from a tie for 76th up to a tie for 40th. There was also a hole-in-one by Sarah Kemp on the 161-yard par-3 fifth hole. It's just the second ace in Rochester LPGA Tournament competition history, joined by Dale Eggeling in the second round of the 2000 tournament.

We'll have updates on the blog throughout the day, so stick with us. Mark and Ryan are out on the course presently, and Bob and I will soon join them to watch some of the early action.

4:10 p.m.: Just walked the first six holes with leader Yani Tseng and Cindy LaCrosse, who started the day in solo second place. In a word, WOW. Tseng is simply superb. What started as a five-stroke lead has ballooned to nine shots. Tseng is 3-under through the first six holes. She bounced back from a bogey on No. 1 with a kick-in birdie on the par-4 second, starting a run of four birdies in five holes. That's got her to 16-under. LaCrosse has dropped a shot, moving back to 7-under. She's tied for second with Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.

4:44 p.m.: The leaders have made the turn and the only question is how low Tseng can get. She's at 17-under now after another birdie at No. 8. That's five birdies on the first nine holes to go along with one bogey. in the race for second place, Stacy Lewis has pulled ahead to 8-under. She's a shot ahead of LaCrosse, who is at 7-under. A group of five players is tied for fourth at 6-under, including Suzann Pettersen, Pat Hurst, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.

5:07 p.m.: Tseng's losing it. She's made three pars in a row. At that pace, she might not match the tournament-record 19-under Kerr shot last season. LaCrosse and Pressel, the two players closest to her when the day started, are going backward. Pressel is 2-over through 11, while LaCrosse made double bogey on 10 to move to 3-over for the day. She's 12 shots back at 5-under. 

5:59: p.m.: Tseng simply doesn't like making bogeys. After dropping a shot at No. 13, she bounced right back with another birdie at the 14th. Tseng's got a look at birdie on No. 15, as well. Pressel and Suzann Pettersen are tied for second at 8-under. Pettersen dropped a shot at the tough par-4 18th, while Pressel is playing No. 16.

7:09 p.m.: Tseng nearly closed it out in style, just missing a birdie putt on No. 18 that would have set the tournament scoring record at 20-under. She settled for par and 19-under, matching the score of Cristie Kerr last season and giving the 22-year-old her four major championship. Check back on the blog later for more analysis of the final round and be sure to read Monday's Buffalo News for complete coverage of the final day. Until then ... bye for now.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

 

WNY Open canceled

The Adams Golf Western New York Open scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Monday at Niagara Falls Country Club has been canceled.

A message on the Western New York PGA website announces the cancellation, and says refunds will be issued. It does not give a reschedule date or list a reason for the cancellation.

So, if you were planning on heading out to NFCC tomorrow, roll over and hit the snooze button.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

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