Porter Cup tees off, set to crown new champion
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Many amateur golf events stake their claim as 'one of the best' but only a few can truly take
their place near the top of the heap.
At the top of that heap is undoubtedly the Porter Cup.
In its 56th year, the Porter Cup is as good as it gets in the amateur golf world. With Phil
Mickelson, David Duval, Scott Verplank, Ben Crenshaw, Vinny Giles and Patrick Rodgers among its
long list of winners, the Porter Cup prepares to crown another champion at the 2014 installment
scheduled for July 22-26 at Niagara Falls Country Club.
Originally designed by A.W. Tillinghast and since revamped by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., Geoffrey
Cornish and Brian M. Silva, Niagara Falls Country Club is a unique test for what is widely
considered the best field in all of amateur golf year in and year out.
Defending champion Taylor
Pendrith won't be there to defend. He'll instead be trying his hand at the Canadian Open,
along with fellow countryman and Kent State teammate Corey Conners.
While the absence of these two stars isn't ideal, the field remains tough to beat. As is the case
in most years, the event features the game's top collegiate, mid-amateur and junior stars.
Leading the list of the NCAA's top stars is Will Murphy, the red-hot soon-to-be senior at South Carolina. He won the Azalea
Invitational earlier this year and took the Sunnehanna Amateur last month. His solid showing at
the prestigious Northeast Amateur and subsequent U.S. Amateur qualification has him as
undoubtedly one of the players with the experience needed to navigate the field and narrow
fairways at the Porter Cup.
Matthew NeSmith, a
teammate of Murphy's at South Carolina, is also a player to watch. NeSmith has been consistent
since hitting the national scene when he won the Azalea in 2012. He recently took third at the
of SMU should contend, too. Last year, he won the Trans-Miss and was second at the Sahalee
Players. This season, he's secured Top 20s at the Northeast and Sunnehanna. He was also a
member of the U.s. Palmer Cup team thanks to his stellar NCAA play.
Auburn's Michael Johnson
is another player to follow. After winning last year's Dogwood Invitational title in record fashion,
Johnson took some time off to rehab an injury. Since his return, he's contended but is seeking
another breakthrough victory.
Other college-aged stars likely to be in the mix include local favorite and Texas star Gavin Hall,
former SMU golfer Max Buckley, Chris Hemmerich, the recent Ontario Amateur winner, recent
two-time Carolinas Amateur winner Carter Jenkins, Texas' Beau Hossler, Denny McCarthy of
Virginia and former U.S. Open qualifier Cory McElyea. Incoming college players Zachary Bauchou
(Virginia) and Doug Ghim (Texas) should also be in the mix with their recent strong play. Ghim
recently tied for medalist honors at the U.S. Amateur Public Links.
The field will also have quite the international feel with Australia's Dale Brandt-Richards and Geoff
Drakeford, Keelan Kilpatrick of New Zealand (and Cal) and South Africa's Zander Lombard
undoubtedly in the mix. The exemption partnership between the event and the Australian Master
of the Amateurs.
One of the best parts of the Porter Cup field each year is its nod to the game's top mid-amateur
stars. This year will be no different with reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Mike McCoy, red-hot Canadian Garrett Rank, 2013 Stocker Cup
champion John Sawin,
longtime Missouri mid-am Skip Berkmeyer and Matt Crenshaw, a rising player from the Carolinas.
The action tees off Wednesday with the final round scheduled for Saturday, July 26.
AmateurGolf.com will have full coverage of the event.