Ben Reichert hangs on to win Porter Cup
24 Jul 2021
by Rick Woelfel of AmateurGolf.com

see also: View results for Porter Cup, Niagara Falls Country Club, Ben Reichert Rankings

Courtesy of the Porter Cup
Courtesy of the Porter Cup

Ben Reichert stayed one step ahead of the fray.

The East Amherst, NY native kept the field at bay on Saturday to claim the championship trophy at the 62nd Porter Cup Invitational in Niagara Falls, N.Y. He put together a final round of 2-under par 68 to finish the 72 holes at Lewiston Country Club at 11-under par 269, two shots clear of Garrett Rank (Elmira, Ontario), who closed with a 68 to finish alone in second place at 9-under par 271.

Ethan Ng (New York) also closed with a 68 to finish at 8-under par 272 and share third place with Chris Francoeur (Amesbury, Mass.) who finished with a 70.

Cade Breitenstine (Akron, Oh.) and Jack Lundin (Sioux Falls, S.D.) were both at 273 after rounds of 69 and 64, respectively. Jimmy Zheng (Auckland, New Zealand), Laurent Desmarchais (Bromont, Quebec), and Carson Bacha (York, Pa.) were at 274, while Skip Berkmeyer (Town and Country, Mo.), Steven DiLisio (Swampscott, Mass.), and Herman Sekne (Oslo, Norway) finished at 276.

The final result was a case of a local hero emerging triumphant. Reichert resides in East Amherst, New York, roughly 30 minutes southeast of the tournament site. He is the first player with local connections to win the tournament since Walker Cupper Ward Wettlaufer, from Buffalo, triumphed in 1965.

It was a victory that Reichert, who recently concluded his career at Alabama-Birmingham, didn’t see coming after struggling with his game for most of the last year and-a-half.

“I’ve had some really big struggles with my game,” he said. “The college season was really, really hard for me.”

Reichert opened with a 64 on Thursday to take the first-round lead and slept with the lead all week. He awoke Saturday morning with a one-shot lead over Francouer and Herman Sekne (Oslo, Norway), and anticipating his noon tee time.

“I didn’t sleep very well last night,” he said, “And I was really feeling the nerves this morning. I didn’t each very much.

“I knew it was going to be one of the hardest, if not the hardest round I’ve ever played.” That turned out to be the case, but Reichert said he was “More calm than I expected to be. I tried to take deep breaths and keep my composure as well as I could.”

Reichert never lost the lead on Saturday. His scorecard featured three birdies and a bogey; his only bogey over his last 39 holes. He recorded just three bogeys all week; the other two came during Friday morning’s second round.

Reichert noted that his familiarity with the golf course at Lewiston Country Club proved advantageous. Some players in the field didn’t have the chance to fully explore the golf course prior to the opening round because of the inclement weather on Tuesday.

“I’ve played so many rounds of golf here that I wasn’t too worried about it,’ Reichert said. “I know this place pretty well.”

That knowledge and a fortuitous bounce or two helped Reichert preserve his lead. At the par-4 17th, his tee shot hit a tree instead of going out of bounds; he went on to par the hole. At the par-3 18th his tee shot hit a spectator instead of flirting with out of bounds; he went on to make an up-and-down par.

All around Reichert, the contenders moved up and down the leaderboard and in some cases fell into the abyss. Sekne was two under par for the day and 10 under par for the tournament before making a quadruple bogey eight at the 14thand bogeying the 16th and 18th.

In the end, it was Rank who made a last-ditch stand. Rank, playing in the group ahead of Reichert, started the day two shots off the lead. He played the front side in even par before birdieing 13, 14, and 15, a par five and two par fours, to move to within a shot of the lead but bogeyed the 17th, giving Reichert some additional breathing room as he played the 72nd hole.

Results: Porter Cup
1NYBen ReichertEast Amherst, NY100064-70-67-68=269
2CanadaGarrett RankCanada70068-72-63-68=271
T3NYEthan NgNew York, NY50067-68-69-68=272
T3MAChris FrancoeurAmesbury, MA50068-68-66-70=272
T5SDJack LundinSioux Falls, SD50068-74-67-64=273

View full results for Porter Cup

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 a few weeks prior to the event and approximately five spots are available. Starting in 2023, the men's and women's Porter Cup championships will run con currently with 54 players in each field and alternating tee times.

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