By Dave Tease
Newcastle’s Blake Windred fired a final round 6-under-par 65 to finish in a three-way tie for second at the Porter Cup in upstate New York overnight.
Windred breezed around the Niagara Falls Country Club course with a round that included six birdies and a solitary bogey on the 18th. Had it not been for the dropped shot on the last, outright second would have been his alone.
“I was happy to climb the leaderboard and get into contention on the back nine today.
“I managed my game well this week. It was a lot of fun, and I’m very happy with the second place finish,” he said.
There was more at stake than just a win at the Porter Cup this week for the 20-year-old. Windred was hoping to climb enough places on the World Amateur Golf Ranking to be able to skip Pre Qualifying for the US Amateur, which he will attempt on Monday in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
“I wanted a good result this week so I could possibly skip qualifying for US Am, with a re-rank coming up.
“I needed to jump at least ten spots though.
“Hopefully my finish here will help,” he added.
Queensland’s Shae-Wools Cobb and Charlie Dann had good weeks, both finishing in the top ten.
Wools-Cobb, playing in the final group alongside eventual winner Thomas Walsh, couldn’t get anything going on the final day. The only highlight, an eagle on the par 5 13th was a bright moment on an otherwise quiet day.
Dann, who earlier in the week had qualified for next month’s US Amateur, shot a pleasing 68. He will be gaining confidence heading towards Pebble beach.
Picton’s Justin Warren, now back in the US to complete his Senior year at the University of Little Rock, Arkansas, carded a final round 70 to finish in a tie for 15th.
Three Australians sit inside the top ten at the halfway mark of the Porter Cup at Niagara Falls Country Club in upstate Buffalo, New York.
Queensland’s Shae Wools-Cobb, playing in the Porter Cup for the first time, has carded the equal-low round of the day, a five under par 65, to sit one shot behind the leader, American Thomas Walsh.
The 22-year old has found the greens to his liking after playing in Scotland for the last few weeks. He added the vibe of playing partners over the first two days had helped.
“I had a pretty hot putter out there today, 24 putts will always help!
“The greens are rolling so pure.
“I had a super fun group over the last couple of days, and it’s been pretty relaxing out there,” Wools-Cobb said.
The Porter Cup is the first of three tournaments for the world number thirty. Next up is the Pacific Coast Amateur followed by the Western Amateur. He’ll head to the US Amateur at Pebble Beach straight after.
“My World Ranking mean’s I’m already into the US Amateur, so thankfully, I didn’t have to qualify,” Wools-Cobb said.
Charlie Dann, Wools-Cobbs’ Queensland teammate, added a tidy two under par 68 to his first round 69 to sit in a four-way tie for sixth at three under.
Another shot back is Blake Windred, who added a one over par 71 to his first round 67.
The Novocastrian was happy with his ball striking, despite dropping back to 10th place.
“I hit it way better today than I did yesterday, I just didn’t score as good.
“It’s close though,” Windred said.
The final Aussie in the field, Picton’s Justin Warren, also made a move, jumping from 35th to a tie for 18th after carding a tidy two under par 68.
Newcastle’s Blake Windred has begun his Porter Cup campaign with a three-under-par 67 at the Niagara Falls Country Club in upstate New York.
The 21-year-old, playing in the afternoon half of the draw, made a quiet start to the tournament with a bride and bogey win his first two holes, in an otherwise blemish-free from nine.
Windred got it going on the back nine, and when he converted birdie chances on the 10th, 11th and 12th, suddenly, he was officially on fire.
A bogey on the par four 14th was soon erased with a birdie on the next.
Windred made a good day at the office even better by finishing with another birdie on the long par three 18th to sign for his 67.
Three other Aussies are in the field this week. Queensland’s Charlie Dann is a shot behind Windred after a two under 70, while his state teammate Shae Wools-Cobb is at even par.
Picton’s Justin Warren, a clubmate of Windred at The Australian Golf Club, who is in his Senior year at the University of Little Rock, Arkansas, carded a two-over par 72 to be in the middle of the pack.
The Porter Cup has a rich history of Australian winners, with recently minted touring professional Harrison Endycott picking the crown up in 2016. Victoria’s Geoff Drakeford won in 2014, while Queensland’s Simon Nash took out the title in 2002.
Past winners include David Duval, Phil Mickelson, Brian Harman, Scott Verplank and Ben Crenshaw.