There is nothing better to get people excited for the British Open, then the amateur golf tournament known as the Porter Cup at Niagara Falls Country Club in Lewiston, NY. This tournament is one of the better amateur tournaments in the country and has played host to many current and past PGA Tour Champions. This year is the 54th annual edition of this amateur tournament and promises to have great play from Thursday until Sunday.
The Porter Cup is known for having hosting some of the world’s best amateur golfers throughout the years. Some names include the likes of Phil Mickelson, who won in 1991, Tiger Woods, who has a hole in one plaque at the 13th hole, as well as David Duval, Davis Love III and many others who are now permanent fixtures on the PGA Tour. This tournament usually hosts a top heavy load of Canadian players and local favorites. This year is no different as out of the 8 players who qualified through the qualifier, 5 are from neighboring Ontario, CA, the other three hail from Buffalo and Rochester.
Now, me being from Grand Island, NY, there were 3 local guys who I played golf with in high school who unfortunately didn’t make the cut. The last one was John Edwards who in 2008 managed to qualify for the Porter Cup, and was a media staple for the first two days of the tournament. Unfortunately, that was a rain shortened event in which a cut was implemented for the first time ever, and John missed the cut to play on the weekend. There are some local favorites this week that will be looked at intently to have a possibility to capture the Cup this year. One is Chris Covelli. In the qualifier, which is one 9-hole round played at NFCC, managed to shoot a 69 and finish second behind Daniel Kim from Toronto, Ontario, CA. Covelli is a 2005 Nichols graduate who has tried to take his golf career to the next level after high school, but lost struggled with his play and lost the passion for the game. Now, with this qualification, he has a renewed drive to compete and after this year’s Porter Cup, he plans on attempting to qualify for the U.S. Amateur tournament, and possibly going on to the Web.Com Tour with dreams of making it to the PGA. If he can keep his competitive spirit, he’ll be one of the contenders for sure this week.
Another local favorite is Brian Jurkiewicz, from Hamburg, NY. He shot at 70 in the qualifier to finish in 6th place. With great course knowledge and a caddy who is the assistant green’s keeper, you’d think he would have an edge at this year’s tournament. Jurkiewicz played his High School golf at Canisius High School, and currently attends Saint Bonaventure. He’s had plenty of amateur and junior amateur exposure at a young age, so tournament play is nothing new to him and he should be a contender.
This is a free event to watch as a spectator, and is located in Lewiston, NY at Niagara Falls Country Club starting July 18th and ending July 21st. As a side note, you can bring your own adult beverages to the course.