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Competition continues at Shriners for former UNLV teammates Harry Hall, Taylor Montgomery

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If you needed proof that Harry Hall was a PGA Tour rookie, look no further than the beginning of his sit-down with the media Wednesday at the Shriners Children’s Open.

“Just want to say it's my first proper press conference,” Hall said right after being introduced. “That's pretty cool.”

It gets cooler.

After two straight missed cuts to begin his rookie season, Hall will tee it up amid familiar surroundings this week at TPC Summerlin, a course he’s played over 100 times being an alumnus of UNLV. He’ll be joined in the field, and in the same group for the first 36 holes, by fellow rookie and another recent Rebel, Taylor Montgomery, who played two seasons alongside Hall before graduating in 2017.

Full-field tee times from the Shriners Children’s Open

“I always knew Taylor would be out here one day, and playing together on Thursday and Friday this week is a special moment for me and a special moment for the community and UNLV golf,” Hall said. “Hopefully we can get some support and play good golf, too.”

The former college teammates have since remained close. Hall grew up in Cornwall, England, on a 5,500-yard public golf course, and Montgomery, a Las Vegas native, is the son of the general manager at ritzy Shadow Creek, where both he and Hall frequently practice and play.

“Ever since we shared a room at Stage 1 and Stage 2 of Q-school together back in 2019, we've played probably every week at Shadow Creek in a little game,” Hall said.

The competition, in fact, never ends between the two.

Hall remembers when he arrived at school, swinging the driver just 104 mph while Montgomery was close to 135 mph. Earlier this year, they had a long-drive contest and Hall, topping out at 126 mph, won.

“I feel like the guy gets 20 pounds heavier and grows five inches every year,” Montgomery said of Hall, who now looks like a hipster Bryson DeChambeau. “When he first came in as a freshman, he was just this scrawny dude, and now he's like a giant.”

As one can probably tell, Hall says, “He gives me way more stick than I give him.” But Hall also adds, “He's probably a bit scared of me now. I'm probably the only guy that's probably even with him as far as playing him on a regular basis.”

No home match has been more important – or hotly contested – than one that the two played at TPC Summerlin a little over a year ago. It was a couple of Fridays before the Shriners, and tournament director Patrick Lindsey was deciding which player to give his final sponsor exemption to.

So, Lindsey had Hall and Montgomery play off for it. Eighteen holes. Stroke play. Lowest score gets into the Shriners.

“He kicked my a--,” Montgomery admitted.

But as Hall tells it, the match was much closer.

“It was pretty mellow at the start,” Hall recalled. “We were joking around, and by about hole 4 we were pretty competitive.”

Hall said both players were tied around 3 under when he eagled the 13th hole and Montgomery made bogey. “I had a little three-shot cushion going into the last few holes, which was big,” added Hall, who went on to win by a single shot and then later tie for eighth in his Tour debut.

“I mean, I lost, so you kind of go home and watch him on TV, and it was really cool to see him do well,” Montgomery said. “I know that was a big paycheck for him.”

Added Hall: “We're still friends no matter what happens then, what happens this week. Taylor is like a brother to me, and with his dad, Monty, at Shadow Creek and all his friends and my friends, I'm very fortunate that they've treated me as part of the family over the last few years, and I don't think that will ever change, whether we're competing for this trophy this week or maybe the Ryder Cup next year.”