LEWISTON — Early in the second round of the 54th annual Porter Cup, it looked as if the big names of amateur golf were poised to claim their spots atop the leaderboard at Niagara Falls Country Club.
Justin Thomas and Patrick Rodgers, both ranked in the top 10 of the world amateur rankings and the top five of the men’s collegiate rankings by GolfWeek, shot 63 and 65, respectively, to tie with Tyler McCumber for the second-day lead at 8-under par.
It was just as Thomas and Rodgers, who were paired together during the first two days, submitted their scorecards that lesser-known Richy Werenski made his move, shooting a 5-under 30 in his front nine and a second-day 62 to give him a 4-stroke lead at 12-under.
“I putted really good today,” Werenski said. “I hit the ball about the same as yesterday, but yesterday I missed a few puts. Today they just dropped.”
Werenski finished the first round with a 66 and tied for fourth at 4-under. He hasn’t bogeyed a hole and has 10 birdies and one eagle through two rounds. He said he’s been playing well recently and isn’t surprised that it’s carried over.
“I knew I was playing good coming in here,” he said. “I played last week down in South Carolina at (the Players Amateur) and there was a lot of good stuff that just didn’t click right. Maybe stuff’s starting to click now.”
The South Hadley, Mass. native and Georgia Tech junior is ranked 122nd golfweek.com’s world amateur rankings and 120th in the collegiate rankings. It’s his first Porter Cup and he says the course really fits his game well.
“It just suits my eye really well,” he said. “It’s a little bit tighter off the tee and calls for good tee shots. I usually hit the driver pretty good and hit a lot of fairways. If you can do that here you’re going to hit a lot of greens. Today I made putts and yesterday I made a lot of putts.”
Rodgers, Thomas and McCumber are tied for second at 8-under, James White, Corey Conners and first-round leader Denny McCarthy are tied for fifth at 7-under, and Jorge Fernandez Valdes, Nathan Holman, Matt NeSmith and Andrew Yun round out the top 10, each tied for eighth at 5-under.
Lewiston’s Michael Boss shot a second-day 4-under 66 and is 1-under for the tournament. He leads all local players and is tied for 28th.