Field set for 61st Porter Cup

LEWISTON — This year's Porter Cup will feature plenty of new faces, but organizers expect the competition to be as stiff as ever.

The field for the 61st Porter Cup was announced Tuesday during the annual Media Luncheon and Golf Outing at Niagara Falls Country Club.

Before 15 or so well-known media members from across Western New York took their shots at the prestigious course, organizers introduced a field that will feature close to 60 Porter Cup newcomers when the tournament gets underway next Wednesday.

This year's top-ranked player is one of those newbies. Chun An Yu, who is entering his senior season at Arizona State, is No. 6 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and is coming off a third-place finish in the NCAA Golf Championships.

Ranked 19th is second-time PC player John Pak, a junior-to-be at Florida State. Pak finished tied for 59th at last year's Porter Cup.

The top returning finisher from last year is Georgia Tech senior Ty Strafaci, who will play in his third Porter Cup. Strafaci finished tied for second last year and is ranked 96th by the WAGR.

Defending champion Thomas Walsh turned pro, while 2017 champ Brandon Wu, No. 5 in the WAGR, had to pull out of the Porter Cup after qualifying for a couple pro events, including this week's British Open.

Also ranked in the WAGR's top 100 are North Carolina's Kevin O'Connell (39), Florida's Canon Claycomb (59), Georgia Tech junior Noah Norton (84) and Ontario's Garrett Rank (86).

O'Connell and Rank, who is an NHL referee, are both 31-year-old mid-amateurs. At the other end of the spectrum is Claycomb, a 17-year-old who just finished his senior year of high school. Claycomb is committed to Alabama.

Overall, nine countries are represented, including the US and Canada. Players are also coming from Venezuela, Argentina, China, Australia, Japan, Singapore and Taiwain.

There are also a few local ties. Mainstays like Ben Reichert (East Amherst), Will Thomson (Pittsford) and David Hanes (Elma) return, as do NFCC's top duo of former club champions James Blackwell and Nick Morreale. 

Elmira's Ryan Spady will make his debut, as will St. Bonaventure junior Jack Geise and Jonathon Snook of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

The Porter Cup opens with registration and practice at noon Monday. Tuesday is the annual Ham Am, which pairs players with club members and corporate sponsors. Tournament play starts at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, with the final round set for Saturday, July 27.