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Sheedy does it again, goes low to earn spot in Porter Cup

LEWISTON – It was déjà vu Monday for Patrick Sheedy Jr. at the Porter Cup qualifier.

For the second straight year, the East Amherst resident turned in a round of 4-under-par 66 to earn a spot in the field for next month’s 56th Porter Cup at Niagara Falls Country Club.

Sheedy’s round earned medalist honors among a field of 95 competing for eight tournament berths.

“I’m pretty comfortable around here,” said the 23-year-old Sheedy, who works as a civil engineer for DiDonato Associates in Buffalo. “I’ve played here a bunch of times. I know the course pretty well. Last year when I played in the Porter Cup it was awesome, so I just wanted to get back there.”

Sheedy started his round even on the front nine, but turned it on starting at the par-4 10th hole. A wedge to 10 feet set up a birdie to get him into red numbers. He followed that with an eagle on the par-5 12th hole, hitting a 3-wood to a foot.

“The scoring holes here are 10, 11 and 12,” he said. “You’ve got to get at least one or two birdies. That kick stared the back nine, I guess.”

Another birdie followed at the par-4 14th before his only dropped shot coming home on the par-5 15th. Sheedy, though, rebounded from that with another birdie on the difficult par-4 17th hole.

Not bad for a player who squeezes golf into his work schedule.

“Last week, I played three times,” said Sheedy, who plays out of Brookfield Country Club. “In a normal week, it’s once during the week, once on the weekend and then hit balls every now and again. They set up the course pretty similar to last year. They don’t set it too long, which is nice. It gives you a chance to take advantage of some of the shorter holes.”

Sheedy finished in a tie for 62nd in last year’s Porter Cup field. But he carded a 5-under 65 in the second round, and with a pair of 66s, knows he can go low on the course.

“Last year I just wanted to get in, play and see what happens. Knowing how it goes, my goal this year is going to be top 25 so I can get exempt and don’t have to do the qualifier again,” he said. “Usually around even par is the top 25. I know I can do it, it’s just a matter of making it happen when the big boys are all here.”

Sheedy’s 66 put him a stroke ahead of another local player in East Amherst’s Danny Yustin. The University of Hartford senior will be in the Porter Cup field for the second straight year after a round of 3-under 67.

“I was anxious and kind of nervous the first time around, but now that I’ve got that under my belt, I’m ready to look for some better results,” said Yustin, who finished 80th in last year’s Porter Cup. “I shot 67 here last year at the Western New York Open and won it, so it’s nice to confirm I’ve got that game.”

Yustin ran off birdies on holes 8, 9 and 10, with none of the putts coming from outside of 4 feet. He added another at the par-5 12th and finished his round with five birdies and two bogeys.

“Even though I shot 67, I definitely missed a handful of putts,” he said. “I was OK off the tee, but I hit a lot of good irons.”

Yustin has been playing well lately, having made the cut earlier in the month at the Southeastern Amateur in Columbus, Ga.

“I hit the ball really solid there, but didn’t get around the greens too well,” he said.

Yustin’s 67 matched that of Kevin DeHuff, a senior at Pepperdine University. In sticking with the déjà vu theme, DeHuff shot the same score in last year’s qualifier to gain entry into the Porter Cup, which will be held July 23-26.

Five players carded a round of 2-under 68 to also get in. They were Nicholas Ross of Dundas, Ont., Ryan Celano of Naples, Fla., Austin James of Bath, Ont., James Krantz of Oshawa, Ont., and Joseph Kremer of Toronto.

The scoring average on a humid day that featured a slight breeze was 74.85.