Takes advantage of leader's mistakesBirdie at 17 clinches victory
We made some predictions after Saturday’s wild, 3rd round of the 61st Porter Cup. Very few of them came true. Unless we’re playing with house money, the wallet stays in the pocket! Back to the golf. Here’s what we thought might happen:
- Chun An Yu would post a 4th consecutive round in the 60s, and take the victory jacket home to Arizona State and Taiwan.
- Someone would go low and threaten the course record of 60.
- Davis Lamb would be that guy, given his penchant for populating his scorecard with birdies.
What we should have known would happen:
- An Aussie in the hunt is a sure bet for a comeback. Aiden Didone’s 4th round wasn’t pretty (3 over par from holes 9-14) but today wasn’t a beauty contest.
- 4 rounds in the 60s (unless your name is Didone) for a Porter Cup rookie is unheard of. Chun An Yu ballooned to a 74 and a tie for 2nd at -8, 2 behind the leader.
- John Pak came back on Saturday. He also posted 4 rounds in the 60s (not a rookie, so there!) and took the clubhouse lead at 8-under par. At that moment, the final trio stood on the 16th tee. Success over the final triumvirate of holes at Niagara Falls country club is never a given.
What did happen:
- Tyler Strafacci blinked. In the mix at 7-under following a nice birdie putt at the 10th, Strafacci came home in +3. He fell to -4 on the week and solo 10th place.
- Two mid-amateurs found their way into the top five. Matt Parziale and Garrett Rank finished T5 after rounds of 70 and 65, respectively.
- Chun An Yu forgot how to drive the golf ball. He opened and closed the front nine with double bogeys, and fought his swing with the long sticks the entire day. He made a 3rd double at the diabolical 12th, and could not make enough birdies (4) on the day to counter the mistakes.
- 66 was the low round of the day. 4-under was high, considering the go-for-broke mentality needed on day four. Perhaps the leaders needlessly played too conservatively, or perhaps the breezes along the escarpment forced them to do so.
The hoped-for, jump-start to the USA Walker Cup side did not materialize for anyone but John Pak. Cole Hammer, Akshay Battia and Stewart Hagestad (none present at the Porter Cup) were named to the team earlier in the week, leaving seven open spots for candidates. Pak is currently listed at 24th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, but his T2 should vault him inside the top 20, and make him one of the top 10 Americans on the list. The next two tournaments (Western and US Amateurs) will determine his fate.
For now, the leadership of the Porter Cup committees take a well-earned rest. The grounds crew allows the course to rest a bit. The golfers take to the road and the skies, headed for points unknown across the amateur golf world. With that in mind, have a look at four important moments in the walk to victory of Aiden Didone, whose WAGR ranking of 696 will certainly improve next week.
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