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Talented Porter Cup field tees off Wednesday
25 Jul 2016
by Sam Dostaler of amateurgolf.com

see also: Porter Cup Invitational Golf Tournament, Niagara Falls Country Club

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LEWISTON, NY (July 25, 2016) -- The Porter Cup played at Niagara Falls Country Club from Wednesday-Saturday this week is one of the premiere amateur tournaments in the world. Each and every year the best amateur players arrive in the shadows of Niagara Falls and test their mettle on a course that has challenged the worlds best since the tournament began in 1959.

“I believe (the players understand the history and of course the importance) of the event,” said assistant tournament director Cassie Stein. “We have a lot of memorabilia hanging around the country club and in the locker room showing who has won the event and what the importance means to not only the club and the players but amateur golf in general.”

Over the years the tournament has seen some notable players win the title, including; Ben Crenshaw (1972) Nathaniel Crosby (1982) -- son of Bing Crosby, Scott Verplank (1983), Phil Mickelson (1990), Gary Nicklaus (1991), David Duval (1992), Ryuji Imada (1995) and Patrick Rodgers (2011).

Time and time again the tournament has put a stamp on a young players career. Many people believe that last year’s winner Denny McCarthy was picked for last years Walker Cup because of his victory at the Porter Cup. McCarthy finished 11-under and won a playoff against Carter Jenkins.

In the build up to this year’s Porter Cup the tournament committee is ramping up the recruiting efforts in hopes of building an even deeper field. It has been an all hands on deck effort this season traveling to various college tournaments talking to and watching players.

“Last year was a little bit of a struggle as far as getting some of the top players in the country and the world to come see us but we are just trying to put a good name out there for the Porter Cup,” said Stein. “We are just trying to get our name back out on the map and talk to them and relate to them.”

NAME ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Derek Bard The Virginia senior is playing in his third Porter Cup and a lot has happened since he left the Niagara Falls region a year ago. Bard finished runner-up at the U.S. Amateur and also played in the Masters, U.S. Open and Palmer Cup. During his junior year at Virginia Bard earned All-ACC honors for the second consecutive year after leading the Cavilers in scoring average.
Hugo Bernard The 2016 NCAA Division II Individual Champion will be making his first Porter Cup appearance. Bernard is out of Saint Leo’s in Florida.
Andrew Buchanan Buchanan, a junior at SMU, was part of the U.S. Four-Ball Amateur winning team at Winged Foot this past May. He was also named All-AAC during his sophomore year with the Mustangs.
Jared du Toit A senior at Arizona State, du Toit is coming to Niagara Falls Country Club fresh off a T9 at the RBC Canadian Open. Du Toit played in the final group on Sunday and was under-par all four days.
Gene Elliott The 11th ranked mid-amateur, Elliot has a long history at the Porter Cup. Elliot won the event in 1998 and is appearing for the 12th time. Over the years the former Iowa University golfer has put together a decorated amateur career and among other victories has won three Iowa Amateur championships. In 2012 Elliot was inducted into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame.
Sean Elliot Now a senior at Dalton State University, Elliot won the 2015 NAIA Championship. 2016 marks the second time that Elliot will tee it up in the shadows of Niagara Falls.
Harrison Endycott From Australia, Endycott is ranked as the second best amateur in the world and has had a successful 2016 season thus far. Endycott, making his second trip to Niagara Falls Country Club, has four ranking event wins this year. His victories have come at the South Australia Amateur Classic, Riversdale Cup, Lake Macquarie Amateur and Avondale Amateur Medal.
Will Grimmer Grimmer, a rising junior at Ohio State has shown well in ranking events so far this year. He finished tied for fourth at both the Sunnehanna Amateur and Jones Cup while also finishing in a shared second position at the Rice Planters Amateur. Grimmer recorded a T12 at the Big Ten Championships as well. This will be Grimmer’s first appearance at the Porter Cup.
Gavin Hall With three decorated years at Texas under his belt Hall returns for his fifth try at Porter Cup glory. Hall, who finished third last year, is coming off another strong season with the Longhorns where he was named to the All-Big 12 team and was a Jack Nicklaus Award semifinalist. He was also part of a Texas team that finished national runner-up’s.
Scott Harvey Harvey is the second- ranked mid-amateur in the world and he just continues to impress. The 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur winner is making his eighth Porter Cup appearance and this year he has already won George C. Thomas Invitational and the Carolina Mid-Amateur. He also has a runner-up finish at the Gasparilla Invitational and a T2 at the South American Amateur.
Michael McCoy McCoy is the sixth- ranked mid-amateur and he is making his field leading 17th appearance at the Porter Cup. The Iowa resident has won his state amateur six times, first winning the event in 1992 and last winning the title in 2015. McCoy was a member of the 2015 Walker Cup team and this year he has a pair of top-three finishes in ranking events.
Garrett Rank The top-ranked mid-amateur in the world finished in a second place at the Sunnehanna Amateur and T10 at the Southern Amateur. Rank, playing in his sixth Porter Cup, won the 2015 Canadian Mid-Amateur. Last week Rank played in and made the cut at the RBC Canadian Open.
Kyle Mueller A rising junior at the University of Michigan, Mueller competed in this years U.S. Open at Oakmont. Last year Mueller finished the Porter Cup in a tie for sixth. 2016 will be Mueller’s second Porter Cup appearance.

Niagara Falls Country Club when played from the tips can be stretched to 6,871 yards and as a par-70 course (35-35). The course has two key stretches in every round. When a player makes the turn there is a stretch where they have to make a move. Following the par-4 10th there is a par-5, par-3 and par-5 and as Stein says, “if you want to win the tournament. You really have to get some low scores on that stretch.”

As important it is to go low during the early portions of the back nine; trying to play the final three holes in even-par is just as crucial and also easier said then done. No. 16 is a long par-3 that goes along a gorge and is surrounded by trees. Following No. 17 the closing hole is another long par-3.

“The last couple of years that stretch has really made or broken the tournament,” says Stein. “It is always a lot of fun to watch and people always go out there and follow the last group in and it makes for an exciting finish that’s for sure.”

Beyond the tournament play the tournament committee makes sure that the contestants get to experience a unique part of the country. The highlight always proves to be the yearly trip to the base of Niagara Falls on the Maid of the Mist.

“It is one of the original seven wonders of the world it is pretty magnificent to see. Your supposed to wear a poncho when you go on the cruise but because you get pretty soaked but they all think they are pretty tough so they go without it and they have a lot of fun,” says Stein.

Each summer the Porter Cup brings in one of the best amateur fields in the country and 2016 is no different.

ABOUT THE Porter Cup

One of the premier amateur events in the nation, this 72-hole stroke play invitational has lots of extra activities that give this event a special flavor. The winning player receives a green blazer, as well as an invitation to the Master of the Amateurs tournament in Melbourne, Australia. Pre- tournament qualifying is in early July and approximately five spots are available. The qualifying field is open to the first 90 entrants with handicaps less than 3. Please contact tournament committee for more info or visit the tournament website at portercup.com.

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