CLYMER – One look at the field for this week's LECOM Health Challenge here at Peek'n Peak shows plenty of familiar names for close followers of Western New York's premier amateur golf event, the Porter Cup.
There are five former champions in the field this week, having graduated to playing professionally on the Web.Com Tour.
Following Thursday's first round on the Upper Course, it was a mixed bag of results for those who have previously slipped on the winner's green jacket at Niagara Falls Country Club.
Here's a look at how those five past champions fared, beginning with the most recent:
• Denny McCarthy: The 2015 Porter Cup winner, who last month struck the very first shot of the U.S. Open, opened with a round of 2-under 70. McCarthy doesn't begin his second round until 2:36 p.m. Friday because of a two-hour rain delay in the morning.
• Taylor Pendrith: The 2013 champion had a round to forget Thursday, shooting an ugly 9-over 81 that included a muni player-like 45 on the back nine. His score card on the final nine holes looked like this: 4, 8, 6, 3, 4, 3, 6, 4, 7. Particularly gruesome was the par-5 11th hole, which Pendrith took a snowman on. The shot descriptions of that hole, as provided by PGATour.com, usually say shots are taken from the tee box, or the fairway, or the rough. For Pendrith, it simply said he took three shots from "other." Whatever "other" is, it's not good. His second round doesn't begin until 3:53 p.m. Friday, barring any more delays.
• Richy Werenski: The 2012 Porter Cup champion, who is currently second on the Web.com Tour money list, opened with a disappointing 3-over 75. Werenski, who will earn his PGA Tour card for the 2016-17 season, has made $263,470 this season and has three top-10 finishes. He's 3-under through 13 holes of his second round, but will likely need at least a couple more birdies to get inside the cut line.
• Adam Mitchell: The 2008 Porter Cup champion played his last three holes in 5-over Thursday to close the first round at 7-over 79. Mitchell has struggled this season, missing the cut eight times in 12 Web.com appearances. He begins his second round at 3:09 p.m.
• Casey Wittenberg: The 2003 Porter Cup champion opened with a 1-under 71 Thursday. Wittenberg has played in just six events this season, but does have a pair of top-25 finishes. He begins his second round at 3:20 p.m.