In the first Women’s Porter Cup, Cassie Cathrea ignited the fledgling event with a first-round 65. She held on through round two to snatch a three-stroke victory over the field. Since then, however, the tournament atop Lewiston Hill has made a name for itself as a place for comebacks and final-round fireworks. 2014 saw Brooke Henderson set the course record at 62 in the final round, completing her own, three-stroke margin of triumph. Last year, Ana Paula Valdes gave that record a run, finishing with 65 to edge past Christina Foster for a single-stroke win. 2016 followed this new formula of a stretch run, but the story itself began in 2014.
That year, the year of Brooke, saw the first appearances of Josee Doyon and Princess Superal. Doyon is a member of the Canadian national team and tied for 14th in her first tour around the Niagara Falls country club course. Superal also debuted two years ago, finishing tied for the runner-up spot. three back of the Canadian phenom Henderson. That same summer, Superal would win the USGA Girls Junior championship for her first national title. Last year, both ladies returned to Lewiston, once again figuring in the top ten. Superal tied for 7th while Doyon shot up the leaderboard to 3rd spot. Although neither figured in what was a two-golfer affair. 2016 proved to be much different.
Superal played the three rounds of this year’s event in consistent form. Her 72-70-73 outdistanced everyone in the field, save one. Josee Doyon caught fire early and rode her hot hand to a five-under par 66, the low round of the week by two strokes. That number allowed Doyon, of Quebec, to surge past Superal and claim a five-stroke win.
After opening with bogey, Doyon bounced back with a great birdie from the sand on the par-five third hole. She went on to make two more birdies (6 and 7) on the outward half, then posted three more on the back nine, on holes 13, 17 and 18. The only five-par that escaped the long-hitting Doyon was 11, where she made par. After the round, the champion reflected on victory in her final Women’s Porter Cup:
–The course was similar (to previous years) … some new greens that were really firm and we had to adjust … I had to play the front but oftentimes I only had a short club so it was easier!
–I just stayed focus(ed) on my game and stayed patient! I knew that the back nine would offer me a lot of opportunities because I am a long hitter! One shot at (a) time!
–I will miss that tournament and I can’t believe it was my last one and I’m happy to finish it on this win! It’s a great tournament of high level! The members are fantastic and always so supportive! I always love crowd and to see all these people following yesterday was awesome! It makes that sport even greater! I will be competing the rest of my summer with Team Canada as an amateur and then going professional at the end of the summer!
One would guess that Princess Superal is due in 2017. The wunderkind from Cavite, Phillipines, has not finished outside the top 10 in three starts at Niagara Falls, with two runner-up finishes on her dossier. 205 was the winning total in 2014 and 15, and Superal’s 208 in 2014 would have won this year’s running. She has posted 68 twice at the course, but has fallen victim to some stellar performances by the competition. Doyon’s score outpaced the next best Friday scorecard by three strokes. Only two other golfers, Haylee Harford and Nikolette Schroeder, broke 70 during the final round. Schroeder bounced back from 80 with her 69, moving into the top ten. An Ohio State golfer, She sent a few thoughts via Twitter on her successful day
–Solid putting helped for round 3. Put myself in good positions to make birdies. Hit a few par 5’s in 2
–(Highlights included) making eagle on #3 and birdie on #11. It was a fun event with a great field. Definitely a good test to see where your game is.
–(My) first time playing (Womens Porter Cup) was this year. Nothing surprising (about the course.) (Course staff) were able to put some pins in some tough spots. (I had) heard a lot of great things about the event, they lived up to … expectations
Harford, the third golfer in red numbers on day three, went about matters in an entirely different way. She played the par-five holes in one-over, unlike most of the others in the mix, who played the long holes under par. Harford, from Furman University, finished six shots back of Doyon, in third place.
–(It) was a consistent round of golf. Shot even on the front & 2 under on the back. I had a total of 5 birdies & 3 bogies.(Birdies came on) holes 6, 10, 12, 15, and 18!
–I actually played the par 5’s 1 over and didn’t birdie any of them which was a bit frustrating, them being short yardages. (I) went for all of them and flew into bunkers right before the greens. Got out easily, just didn’t capitalize.
–I played in the tournament last year. I enjoy the course. It can be a challenge with its greens & tricky pin placements. It was very windy this year which made it play tough. Going into the last day I felt in it and knew I had to go low.
Tournament director Brian Oakley, perhaps the most tired soul on Friday evening at Niagara Falls country club, had a moment to reflect on the 4th playing of the event, and gave us a few insights regarding this year and next:
—How did course play differently this year? (It) played tougher with more difficult pin placements, coupled with wind to contend with
—What have you learned in four years of tournaments? The first and second round lead is never safe. Recruiting gets easier each year….thankfully.
—What can we expect from the 5th playing, in a non-Curtis Cup year? We will focus on WAGR rankings a bit more to have an even better field. (Editor’s Note: No Curtis Cup conflict in 2017!)
—Any other thoughts you have to offer? Our formula for the WPC is simple….provide a warm/personal setting that is fun and competitive, the rest takes care of itself
2016 was not memorable for western New York entrants. After two ladies finished in the top ten in 2015, hopes were high this year for a local winner. It was not to be, and Clarence’s Catherine “Cat” Peters was the only area golfer to finish inside the top 30. For complete results, click here.