Lewiston tournament stakes higher than ever; winner receives chance of lifetime
By David Yarger
Get ready - the Porter Cup turns 60 this year.
The Lewiston classic at Niagara Falls Country Club, from Wednesday, July 18, to Saturday, July 21, will bring some of the top amateur golfers from around the world to compete for the chance of a lifetime.
This year, the winner of the 60th Porter Cup will receive an exemption to play in the 2019 LECOM Health Challenge at Peek'n Peak Resort. The challenge is part of the Web.com Tour - one step below the Professional Golfers Association Tour.
Porter Cup Executive Director Cassie Stein said the 60th rendition of the Porter Cup could be the most hyped-up tournament to date.
"Quite possibly it could be, plus it's the 60th," Stein said. "It really brings in the best players who wanna get to the next level and want the opportunity to get to the pros."
Stein has been adamant that the Porter Cup is a huge stepping stone to success for the amateurs competing and, now that the winner receives the exemption to play in a Web.com Tour event, it only gets them one step closer to their goal of being a professional.
Brandon Wu, the 2017 Porter Cup champion, will return to NFCC this year to defend his crown. Stein said Wu recently played in the 2018 LECOM Health Challenge and finished tied for 41st at 8-under.
Along with the raised stakes, Stein said having the tournament operate for a 60th year is a huge tribute to everyone involved.
"It's incredible," she said. "It's a tremendous tribute to the staff and members. Plus, there's a big history behind this tournament. Golfers like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ben Crenshaw have played here. It attracts the top players."
Golfers themselves are excited for the tournament, Stein said.
"I've actually heard from a lot of the golfers and they're really excited to compete," she said. "The course is in great shape. This is a big one and we're excited for them to come here, and I think they're all worthy of that exemption."
For those looking to attend, the tournament is free, and Stein said they will see top-notch golf.
"They're going to see some really good golfers," she said. "These guys can hit the ball long and, with it being so hot, the ball is gonna hit the grass and just roll for some big drives. It's going to be some tremendous golf and we hope everyone has a good time."
The field is very diverse, as golfers will be coming to Lewiston from all over the U.S., Canada, China, Argentina, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Guatemala, the Philippines, England and Kazakhstan.
Stein said Andrew Poturalski, an AHL player in the Carolina Hurricanes system and local from Williamsville, would receive an exemption to play in the Porter Cup, after finishing just one shot off the qualifying cut.