There was Tiger’s ace at 12 and Casey Wittenberg’s tournament-record 266 in 2003. The Porter Cup is, after all, about creating memories by striking a silly white ball onto a well-manicured patch of grass.

But ask Dena Armstrong, assistant tournament director and former housing committee member, and the faces associated with the week-long event at Niagara Falls Country Club — which begins with today’s opening round of action — are just as memorable as the crushing drives and accurate putts.

Armstrong has housed Porter Cuppers as long as she can remember, going to a back to a time when she and her parents shared the same address.

She remembers one sad-faced youngster who waited four hours at a table in the front of the clubhouse, hoping to get a home for the week since his mother forgot to sign him up for housing.

At the time, nobody knew much about Ben Curtis. When he won the British Open in 2003, the story grew in stature.

“He looked like a lost puppy dog,” Armstrong said of Curtis. “We finally found him a place. And a few years later, I went to the PGA Championship and he dropped everything, came over and hugged me and said, ‘You’re the woman who found me a house.’ It makes it fun for me.”

Armstrong has housed PGA pros John Cook, Joey Sindelar and Len Mattiace. And Hunter Mahan, who placed sixth in the British Open last week, spent parts of three summers in the home of Armstrong, and her husband, former Niagara University men’s basketball coach and current Toronto Raptors analyst Jack Armstrong.

“It’s a ball for me. I have a lot of fun, especially with the mid-amateurs because they’ve been coming every year,” Armstrong said.

Steve Denn, now in his seventh year as the tournament director, said things went off without a hitch during the two-day registration that ended on Tuesday, although the group did have plenty of golfers check in just under the wire.

“I’m happy to say we did not have any major cancellations,” Denn said. “It was still a difficult day with another 25 guys at registration, so we had a hectic day, but it’s all done.”

Denn added that a lack of wind allowed players to shoot low scores during Tuesday’s Ham-Am event, and he expects the trend to continue.

“The greens will speed up as the week goes on, but with no wind, the scores were low, and they’ll probably continue to be low,” he said.

n NOTES: Following today’s opening round, the Porter Cup will host a free golf clinic taught by renowned instructor Jim McLean. The clinic, which will include trick shots and instruction, is slated to begin at 5:15 p.m. 2006 champ Seung-su Han and U.S. PubLinks champ Colt Knost will assist McLean.

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