Harry Hall trying to remain calm as he seeks first TOUR win
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Written by Kevin Robbins @kdanielrobbins
FORT WORTH, Texas — The 36-hole leader of the Charles Schwab Challenge felt his heart racing Friday on the front nine. His eyes played tricks on him.
It was all new for Harry Hall — the anxiety and the pressure that came with his first lead on the PGA TOUR. And he had the longest wait of the entire field. The 25-year-old TOUR rookie from England played in the last grouping of the day to continue his dominion over Colonial Country Club, where he shot 4-under 66 to finish two rounds at 12-under par.
By the end of it all, Hall led Harris English by three with the weekend to go. The two-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour said he hoped to draw on the experience from the 2020 Wichita Open and the 2022 NV5 Invitational to do something he’s yet to do: win on the biggest stage.
“You have to manage nerves for the rest of your life,” he said. “They never go away. All the little tools that I've created in the last few years of professional golf, they'll probably be escalated and there will be new challenges tomorrow, and you've got to accept that.”
He certainly will accept his performance through two days at Colonial. Hall ranks second in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting (6.86) and fourth in Strokes Gained: Around the Green (2.87). He’s 11 of 13 in scrambling. He ranks sixth in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (5.83).
He collected eight birdies in his round of 62 Thursday. He made four in a row in the middle of his round Friday.
“I just was in the moment out there and taking one shot at a time, and I did that really well,” said Hall, who played college golf at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “Happy with the composure I had and the patience I had and the acceptance I had.”
Fate and luck tested those qualities on his final three holes Friday.
On the par-4 seventh, which played as the 16th of his round, Hall’s tee shot came to rest on a twig. He didn’t dare move it.
“You don’t want to risk that,” he said.
Hall swung 9-iron from 157 yards, stopped his ball 11 feet from the hole and made the putt for birdie.
On the par-3 eighth, Halls ball rode the hint of wind in North Texas, landed in a greenside bunker and plugged in the face.
“I could see only two dimples,” he said.
His first swipe dislodged the ball, which rolled to his feet. He holed the next one for par on the last revolution.
Then, on the iconic par-4 ninth, he blocked a fairway-metal shot that seemed destined for a parade of tall trees and the lush rough under them. His ball nicked one, just right.
Hall found it in the middle of the fairway.
“I don’t think it would’ve mattered,” he said with a sly smile. “I think I would have been very happy with the day, and luckily it bounced out.”
On TOUR, Hall wears a handsome flat cap — a tribute to Jim Barnes, the great English pro who hailed from the Cornish town of Lelant. “Long Jim” later moved to the U.S. and won the PGA Championship twice, in 1916 and 1919; the U.S. Open in 1921; and the Open Championship in 1925. Barnes played out of West Cornwall Golf Club in England, where Hall did before college.
“That’s kind of why I wear it,” Hall said of his cap: khaki on Friday, with a sponsor logo on top.
It’s gone over well at Colonial, where Ben Hogan won five times.
“More Jim Barnes than Ben Hogan, but it's nice to be in a familiar place where this hat was worn,” Hall said. “It probably is doing me some good luck this week.”