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15-year-old golfer shoots 78 in PGA Tour debut

Turning Stone Resort ChampionshipVERONA, N.Y. – Gavin Hall’s debut on the PGA Tour didn’t go as well as planned, and yet even though he shot a 6-over-par 78 in the first round of the Turning Stone Championship he was still smiling.

What’s not to smile about? The kid is only 15.

“It was a good day. It was all right, just a struggle from the first hole as you guys could see,” said Hall, who is trying to become the second-youngest player in Tour history to make a tournament cut. “But that’s going to happen in golf. It was just unfortunate, one of my bad days of golf happened at a PGA Tour event.

“But I still have a lot of confidence,” said Hall, who shot a 10-under-par 62 two weeks ago to set a scoring record at the U.S. Junior Amateur. “I’ve been having strong finishes the last three or four weeks. I think I can definitely improve on it and post a good number (Friday).”

Hall, a left-hander from Pittsford, N.Y., was followed by a gallery of about 200 fans, by far the day’s largest. He opened with a double bogey before making birdie at the par-5 fifth hole. He then hit trouble on the back nine with bogeys at the 12th and 14th and a triple bogey at No. 13.

“Middle part of the round was just rough. I wasn’t in rhythm,” he said. “I learned to keep your emotions in control. That’s the thing.”

Hall played in a threesome with New Zealander Tim Wilkinson, who had to qualify on Monday, and Cameron Tringale. Wilkinson, a fellow lefty, was impressed with his young playing partner.

“It’s hard watching someone that’s a little bit nervous on the first few holes. I think he had a little bit of adrenaline going early on,” said Wilkinson, who shot a 5-under 67. “He hit it over a few greens, but after that he played really well. As long as he has fun and learns from it, he’s got a big future in front of him. He’s got a good game.”