61st Porter Cup tees off Wednesday
Local golfer Jonathon Snook will be competing in this week’s Porter Cup. BPSN file photo.
Some of the top men’s amateur golfers in the world will be in Lewiston, N.Y., this week competing in the 61st Porter Cup at the Niagara Falls Country Club.
“This is probably the best field we have had in the past five or six years,” said Marty Shimmel, the tournament’s assistant director and media chairman.
Shimmel attributes the calibre of the field to moving the tournament to a week later in July to better fit in with the amateur schedule and aggressive recruiting by members of the tournament committee.
“We went out to some college tournaments and some college conventions and we took a more active role in recruiting.”
The increased recruiting and date change was a reaction to the fields the Porter Cup had been attracting.
“We noticed the field was down a little bit in the past few years and we thought those were two things we could do to change it and it worked,” Shimmel said. “It has been increasingly tough for the amateur golf world to attract the top stars now because so many of them turn pro early or they get exemptions into pro tournaments.”
Headlining this year’s field is Arizona State’s Chun An Yu, a First Team All-American and a competitor in the 2019 U.S. Open. The 20-year-old native of Taiwan is the sixth-ranked amateur in the world.
Other notables include 2018 U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion and 2019 Masters competitor Kevin O’Connell and Florida State junior John Pak. The 20-year-old native of Scotch Plains, N.Y., was the Atlantic Coast Conference champion.
The world’s fifth-ranked amateur, Stanford grad Brandon Wu, was supposed to play in the tournament but he cancelled after qualifying for last week’s British Open.
Of the 90 golfers in the field, 59 of them are playing in the Porter Cup for the first time. Countries represented are the United States, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Hng Kong, Argentina, Venezuela and Canada.
Niagara’s wil be represented in the tournament by 25-year-old Niagara-on-the-Lake native Jonathon Snook. The former Brock University qualified earned a berth in the tournament by tying for second in the qualifier. Snook is the first Niagara resident to play in the event since Hanish Nagrani competed in 2017.
Other Ontario golfers teeing it up in the tournament are: 21-year-old Dorchester resident Thomas Code, a golfer at Fanshawe who won the qualifier; 18-year-old Stoney Creek native Johnny Travale, a sophomore at Kent State; 24-year-old Napanee native Josh Whalen, a Kent State grad; 18-year-old Sudarshan Yellemaraju of Mississauga; 31-year-old Garrett Rank of Mississauage, an NHL ref who has played in nine Porter Cups; and, 21-year-old Ancaster native Nick Hofland, a senior at Bowling Green.
“They like to play here and it’s a chance for them to play in a big amateur tournament close to home,” Shimmel said.
Admission to the tournament is free and parking is available on Military Road across from the 14th tee. The $5 fee goes to the local Boy Scouts.
“It’s a great tournament to come watch,” Shimmel said. “You have watched this tournament enough to know how many stars have come through here.”
Past participants have included Tiger Woods. Phil Mikelson, Davis Love III, David Duval, Tom Lehman, Hal Sutton and Justin Leonard to name a few.