A posse of WNY amateur golfers is getting an early start on the 2012 Buffalo District amateur rankings. Chris Covelli, Jonathan Clark, Bill Gaffney, Jake Kreuz and Billy Hanes are in Miami, competing in the inaugural South Beach IAC, an event that runs Tuesday through Friday at Miami Beach and Normandy Shores golf courses.

The fivesome represents a fair amount of talent from the Buffalo area. Covelli was the 5th in the 2011 BDGA points race. Clark won the 2010 International Junior Masters at East Aurora Country Club. Kreuz is the 2011 Monsignor Martin Association individual champion. Gaffney competes for Youngstown State University and Hanes was runner-up at the New York State mid-amateur championship last year. Stay tuned to BuffaloGolfer for daily updates from the championship.

The SBIA tournament boasts that it has the highest-ranked field of any inaugural amateur championship competition, in the history of the Scratch Player world amateur rankings system. For clarification, the SPWAR establishes amateur rankings based on finishes in amateur and collegiate events. These rankings allow closed amateur events, like the Porter Cup in Lewiston, to determine an order in which to extend invitations to fill their tournament fields.