Niagara Gazette

Tim's Take

August 7, 2010

TIM'S TAKES: Late notes from Porter Cup

LEWISTON — So we’re a week late, but with some Porter Cup thoughts still lingering, why not get them out, right?

For one, there’s little doubt the best spot to watch the tournament on the pristine Niagara Falls Country Club course is at the top of the hill behind the 15th green. From that spot you can watch players hit into No. 15 with laser-like precision, watch them tee off in the par-3 16th, then watch their final drive of the day as they boom one off the No. 17 tee.

But after spending a few afternoons lounging in said spot, I can’t come up with a single reason why any player would try for the No. 15 green in one, even if they’re a few strokes down with just a few holes to play.

A tiny path carves through the trees down the left side of the hole, and it takes a nearly perfect shot to avoid branches. But then, even if players do find their way, it’s almost impossible to find the green, especially since the tee shot is coming in so hot.

The smart play is to the middle of the fairway with an iron, which brings a wedge into play for the second shot. A surprising percentage of the players in the groups that came through went for the green, but in my hours of watching not one came even close. Still, they kept trying while most who played it safe zipped the ball within a few feet on their second shots.

...

Staying on the Cup, the most incredible story in my eyes was the uncanny presence of 15-year-old Gavin Hall from Pittsford, who finished tied for second and showed the poise of a college senior.

It’s hard to call a kid a can’t-miss prospect in golf because you simply can’t tell what a guy will do under the weekly pressure of the PGA Tour, but if attitude counts for something, Hall’s on the right path as he kept his composure throughout. Also, his inclusion in this week’s Turning Stone event has added to the Cup’s profile. Hall has routinely been asked about his showing in the prestigious event, and gave the tournament plenty of praise.

“At the Porter Cup, playing with some of the top amateurs in the world, it was a really good field last week. I think we had two kids that were in the top 20 of the majors this year, the U.S. Open, Russell Henley and Jin Jeong at the British Open, and to beat those guys is pretty incredible. And I take a lot of confidence from that, and I don’t want to dwell on it, but I want to keep the confidence and keep everything rolling and keep playing some good solid golf.”

Hall first found out he’d be playing at Turning Stone while playing a practice round at the Porter Cup. He was the subject of feature stories in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Syracuse Post Standard and another penned by Niagara Falls native John Pitaressi in the Utica Observer-Dispatch. He didn’t make the cut, but something tells us we’ll see Hall’s name near the top of the Porter Cup leader board again soon.

...

Stadium pics, Junior hockey and the City Championship

Haven’t had a chance to get over to Niagara University’s Castellani Museum for the exhibit of North American Baseball Stadiums yet?

You’ve earned a short reprieve, according to Susan Clements, the coordinator of events. Due to an upsurge in popularity among baseball aficionados — many of whom don’t typically hang out at art museums, believe it or not — the museum is extending the exhibit through Aug. 22. Clements said calls were coming in as the closing date drew closer and a hole in the schedule allowed the extension. Credit Tonawanda News columnist Ed Adamczyk for the witty and informative captions that accompany the Jim Dow photographs.

...

Consider us giant junior hockey fans, but even for us, the pricing for the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo and Lewiston seems out of whack. The organizing committee recently released corporate ticket packages for the event and we’re wondering who’s buying. For the paltry sum of just $10,000, a gold package includes: eight club seat tickets to all 21 games held at HSBC Arena, VIP hospitality access for eight throughout your stay, a $1,000 WJC gift card that must be used for merchandise, concessions or additional parking, recognition in the Plaza Party Pavilion, and four VIP ramp parking passes to each game.

Seriously? Where do I sign?

Here’s hoping these packages are being marketed heavily in Southern Ontario, because while there’s tepid interest here, it’s nothing that resembles those dollar figures.

...

A quick note of the thanks to the Niagara Falls School District and Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster for their help in pulling off another wildly successful Niagara Gazette City Championship. The tournament, which brings the four Niagara Falls-area youth baseball organizations together for an under-12 event that’s quickly becoming a fan favorite, came down to the final batter. The Whirlpool Park Yankees held on for a thrilling win over the Hyde Park Astros and are parading the Mayor’s Cup around town Stanley Cup-style. Each player gets a day with the cup, and at the end of the month Mayor Dyster will greet the squad at City Hall. Great stuff.

Contact Tim Schmitt at 282-2311, Ext. 2264.

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