By Brian Oakley
There were 72 players from seven different countries who converged on the Niagara Falls Country Club to seek "A Cup of their Own" in June. The popularity of the Women's Porter Cup has steadily grown since its inception in 2013, yielding an accomplished field of ranked amateurs and local prodigies who did not disappoint.
The dramatic finish last year by Brooke Henderson, carding a final round of 62, would not be repeated, unfortunately, as she has joined the LPGA tour. Henderson's ascension has her currently ranked in the top 25 on the tour, which has given the WPC some unexpected notoriety.
This year's field had its own history to make and the golfers didn't disappoint.
With six players starting the final round within only a few shots of leader Christina Foster of Canada, it was anyone's tourney to take. As the leaders approached the 16th hole, Foster had a one-stroke advantage over a young lady playing in only her second amateur tournament.
Enter Ana Paula Valdes of Mexico, who proceeded to hit her tee shot within eight inches of the cup to make birdie. She followed up that feat by making a spectacular eagle on 17, almost guaranteeing her victory now with a two-shot lead.
Foster wasn't about to go quietly, however. Her tee shot above the hole on the 18th green provided a long breaking putt, which she proceeded to drain, cutting the lead to one stroke.
The 17-year-old Valdes then displayed the nerves of a veteran and made her par in front of a large, appreciative gallery to claim the 2015 Women's Porter Cup.
Valdes also took the Honor Storm Trophy, a new award named after the most decorated female golfer ever to play at NFCC. Storm won 32 club championships from 1929-72. Valdes will have her name engraved on the trophy, which will be on display at the country club.
Local players included Maren Cipolla from Lewiston and Cat Peters of Clarence Center, who finished in the top 10 of the field.
2015 Women's Porter Cup champion Ana Paula Valdes. (Photo by Fay Bailey)