John Daly II shot 65 today to move into contention
Noah Kumar (Sarasota, Fla.) shot his second 67 of the week at Niagra Falls CC to grab a one-shot lead heading into the final round of the Porter Cup. Kumar did most of his damage on the front nine, tallying three birdies en route to a 32.
Sitting at 6-under par, one shot of Kumar's pace, is Juan Martin Loureiro. The Argentine Stroke Play champion in November also fired a 67 on Friday. It didn't look good for Loureiro after an opening open 37. He made an eagle on his third hole, but two bogeys and a double-bogey left him off the pace. However, he turned it around on his back nine, firing a 30 with five birdies and four pars.
First-round leader Anothony Delisanti bounced back from a second-round 73 with a solid 68 to stay in touch with the leaders at 5-under par, just two shots behind Kumar.
Sam Nicholson slipped out of the lead with a 73 and hopes to turn it around and make up the four-shot deficit between him and Kumar.
Nicholson is tied with two other players at 3-under par. Ben Carpenter is the 2022 Connecticut Amateur champion who shot a 67 on Friday. John Daly II shot the low round of the day. His bogey-free 65 made up for his opening rounds of 70 and 72.
With nine of the top eleven players shooting under par on Friday, low scoring will be necessary to pull out a victory and lift the historic Porter Cup.
Sarah Gallagher had a tough second-round 75 to erase from her memory quickly. She did exactly that and matched her excellent opening score 68 to climb back to 1-over par; she holds a five-shot lead heading into the final round. Mia Sessa (Augusta, Ga) lost two shots to Gallagher in the third round and sits at 6-over par in second place. She bounced back from a tough three-bogey stretch on hole Nos. 4,5, and 7 and made three birdies coming home.
Amelia Phung is currently 7-over par and in third place.
The final men's group will tee off at 12:20 pm on Saturday and the women leaders will tee of at 12:30 pm.
ROUND TWO RECAP
Sam Nicholson of Atlantic Beach, Fla., shot the low round of the day at the 2023 Porter Cup to catapult into the lead after two rounds.
Nicholson started five shots back of Valparaiso's Anthony Delisanti of Sanborn, N.Y., but a 3 over 73 from Delisanti opened the door for the field and Nicholson took advantage, shooting a 5 under 65 after birding three of his first four holes.
Delisanti started his round just as he finished it in round one, birding two of his first four holes. However, he bogeyed No. 6, 7, 8 and 9 and double bogeyed the par-5 No. 13. Delisanti now sits at T4.
Charlie Berridge of Scarsdale, N.Y., is 5 under for the tournament is in solo second place and Noah Kumar of Sarasota, Fla., is 4 under and in solo third place.
Sarah Gallagher of Blue Mountain, Ontario struggled to back up her incredible round of 68 in round one, shooting a 5 over 75 but she remains in the lead after starting the round with a three shot lead.
Gallagher made just one birdie compared to six bogeys in her second round.
Amelie Phung of Forest Hills, N.Y., and Julia Towne of Eustis, Fla., both sit tied for second place after even par rounds of 70.
ROUND ONE RECAP
On a day when 22 of the 66 men in the field shot under par, Anthony Delisanti's 64 stood out from the rest. The sophomore at Valparaiso University, fresh off a Missouri Valley Conference championship and a berth in the U.S. Amateur is riding a wave of good golf.
It's a bit of a home game for Delisanti, as his hometown of Sanborn, New York is just fifteen minutes from Niagra Falls Country Club.
Another New York native, Charlie Berridge (Scarsdale, NY) shot a 65 to keep Delisanti in his sights. Like Delisanti, Berridge made no bogeys on his way to a 65. Berridge plays his college golf at the University of California.
Settled in behind the top two is Calen Sanderson who plays his college golf at Notre Dame. Sanderson had three pairs of back-to-back birdies during his round. His two bogeys came on hole Nos. 1 and 18.
On the women's side, Canadian Sarah Gallagher paced the field with an impressive 68 that included five birdies. The rising sophomore at Ball State will start the second round with a three shot lead.
Mia Sessa (Augusta, Georgia) is Gallager's closest competition after she shot a 1-over par 71. Sessa just finished her first year at Yale. It's a leaderboard covered in the Canadian flag, as eight of the ten low scores came from Canadian players
With rain forecasted over night, the course could be ripe for the taking once the storms clear out early on Thursday morning for round two.
The Porter Cup's long and illustrious history will add a new and exciting chapter to this year's event. In the past, the men's and women's events were held separately, but this year, both events will be held simultaneously at Niagara Falls Country Club.
The 72-hole stroke play event is one of the most renowned stroke play events in amateur golf, a look at past winners proves it attracts some of the best amateurs in the world to Lewiston, New York each July.
Past winners on the men's side include Brandon Wu (2017), Denny McCarhy (2015), Taylor Pendrith (2013), David Duval (1992), and Phil Mickelson (1990). In addition, the likes of Ben Crenshaw, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods competed in their amateur days.
On the women's side, the event has not been around since 1959. Instead, it kicked off in 2013. In 2014, two-time major winner Brooke Henderson came south of the border to win.
Last year, Katie Cranston won in a playoff over Brooke Rivers in an all Canadian duel. It took birdies on the final two holes to force the four-hole playoff. A bit of drama like that would be great again this year.
One quick look at the packed golfing schedule, and it's clear that the Porter Cup is competing with the Trans-Miss this week. Defending champion Carson Bacha is not in the field, but he's not playing in the Trans-Miss either. It's a busy time for these golfers, but the Porter Cup offers an incredible opportunity for golfers to kickstart the rest of the summer with a win because a Porter Cup victory can act as a launching pad for players.
This is what makes the events that don't fall under the Elite Amateur Series umbrella so enticing and exciting. Amateurs can cut their teeth on a challenging course in a top-notch event and use it as a way to gain confidence and reps.
One name that pops off the tee sheet for the men is John Daly II. After redshirting his sophomore year in 2022/23, Daly II has plenty to prove this summer before heading back to Arkansas.
Mixing the men's and women's competitions should be a model for other events in the future. As the women's game grows, especially at the highest level of amateurism, they need more events to play in. It's a great way to utilize the time a golf course is giving up for a tournament. That tends to be a large challenge, especially in northern states when members are reticent to give up their course for too long.
In an interview with TheBuffaloGolfer.com, the tournament director Marty Shimmel said, "Combining tournaments in July gives local golf enthusiasts the opportunity to see some of the top women amateurs over a four-day period in addition to top men. Another benefit is that our course will be fully open to members for an extra week in June."
In the past, the women's event was buried in early June when summer had not quite kicked off yet. Now, people will have the opportunity to watch some great golf on both the men's and women's side this week at Niagara Falls Country Club. What a way to gain more eyeballs and bring more people into the game.