Aussies open well at Porter Cup

The eleven strong Australian contingent have opened well following the first round of the Porter Cup being played at Niagara Falls Country Club in NY.

Ryan McCarthy displayed the style of golf that at one stage had the Tasmanian the highest ranked Australian, opening with a 3-under-par, 67 to be three from the leader, American Paul Haley.

Haley, a texas native, fired a blistering 6-under-par 64 to hold the outright lead after the opening round.

Recovering from injury, McCarthy's US tour has been hampered by the lack of match preparation with the world number 73 only playing his first tournament since injuring his shoulder back in January at the Keperra Bowl in May, just before heading to the UK and US.

It's pleasing to see a talent like McCarthy open well in a tournament like the Porter Cup which is littered with international talent and it should give the Australian the needed confidence make his mark this US summer with the Western Amateur and US Amateur coming up.

Daniel Nisbet fired the best round of the Australians with a 65 to be at 5-under-par, a stroke behind Haley.

In conditions that favoured scoring due to recent heat waves here in the US which has kept the Niagara Falls Country Club layout's rough short and the greens hard, the leader board remains tightly packed with fourteen players within four strokes of the leader.

This tournament remains open and there are plenty of challenges for this title, including the Aussies and Kiwis.

Tim Hart fired a 2-under-par 68 to be currently in a tie for 14th position, while Ben Campbell is at 1-under-par along with Todd Sinnott to find themselves in a tie for 23rd position, five behind Haley.

Tarquin MacManus, winner of the Master of the Amateurs last January at Royal Melbourne and runner-up recently at the Southern Amateur, opened with an even par 70 to be six behind Haley.

With US players shooting for Walker Cup selection, a biennial international team event between the UK and the US to be played in September at the Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in Scotland, these main US amateur events have taken on a new meaning for America's finest.

The marquee US lineup at Niagara had mixed results during today's opening round.

Harris English, who pipped MacManus at the Southern Amateur and who a week ago won on the Nationwide Tour at the Children's Hospital Invitational in Columbus, Ohio, turned down the opportunity to play in this week's Nationwide event so that he could play in his fourth Porter Cup.

English opened with an even par 70 to be equal with MacManus in a tie for 31st position.

David Chung overcame a four-stroke deficit to win this tournament by three shots last year, then went on to win the Western Amateur and finish second to Peter Uihlein in the US Amateur, had a round he'd be seeking to improve upon.

Chung played in the Masters in April but has struggled since and will need to move on his opening round of 72 which has the Stanford graduate presently in a tie for 55th position.

Russell Henley is a classy player and opened with a 1-over-par, 71, to be in a tie for 45th position. Henley was the NCAA player of the year in 2010 and played in the last two US Opens. Earlier this summer, he won the Stanion Classic, becoming just the second amateur to win a Nationwide Tour event.

Henley can go low and despite being seven from the leader, it's a defect he's capable of closing.

John Peterson, the reigning NCAA player of the year and who nearly won last weekend's Nationwide Tour event, finishing one stroke behind English, opened with a 1-over-par, 71, to be in a tie with Henley.

As for the remaining Aussies the current Australian Amateur Stroke champion, Cameron Smith, opened with a 2-over-par, 72, to be in a tie for 55th position and eight behind the leader.

Brett Drewitt and Kalem Richardson had opening rounds of 3-over-par to be in a tie for 67th position with Bryden MacPherson firing a 4-over-par 74. Nathan Holman carded a 5-over-par 75 along with Matt Stieger.

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