LEWISTON - There’s Travis Smyth, the 36th-ranked amateur golfer in the world playing in his last Porter Cup before turning pro. There’s Gavin Hall, another soon-to-be pro who has finished in the top eight here each of his last five appearances, including two runner-ups. Then of course there’s Harrison Endycott, the defending Porter Cup champion and No. 16 amateur in the world.
Three golfers who are supposed to be at the top of the leaderboard are just that after 36 holes at Niagara Falls Country Club, each at least three strokes under par at the tournament’s midway point with conditions forcing scores the opposite way as play continues.
Nestled in between the household names familiar to amateur golf fans, however, is one maybe not as familiar.
So who exactly is Christopher Petefish?
“Kind of a scrappy player,” said Petefish, the No. 297 amateur in the world. “Usually my putting’s really good. Even if I’m not hitting it perfectly straight, I’ll usually find a way to grind it around, especially on a course like this where the fairways are really narrow. “
There’s your brief autobiography from Petefish, who is 5-under through two rounds. That put him tied for second place with Smyth when he came off the course shortly after 6 p.m., one stroke behind Stanford’s Brandon Wu, who was still on the course.
Petefish, 22, still has a year left of college at Georgia Tech. He stands 6 feet tall and a wiry 150 pounds. This is his first Porter Cup unlike those by his side near the field’s perch. The more strenuous conditions – a wet course and thick rough just to name two – aren’t slowing Petefish down in his first go-round at the event.
With Petefish still on the front nine Thursday, vicious winds and a downpour sent the tournament into a rain delay. It lasted almost four hours, during which Petefish grabbed lunch at Brickyard Brewing Company in Lewiston and devoured coverage of The Open Championship as one of golf’s majors neared the end of its first round.
“I was in a good rhythm at the time but it happens a lot,” Petefish said. “Northeast, there’s a lot of rain delays, lightning delays. You kind of just have to deal with it.”
Petefish played a steady round from there on out, finishing 1-under on the day after walking off the course Wednesday tied for the lead at 4-under.
He has a simple summer goal of always being in contention on the final day of a tournament, trying to finish Day 4 of events more consistently.
With 36 holes down, he has that chance on one of amateur golf’s biggest stages.
“It’ll be fun to go out there tomorrow and be in the mix,” Petefish said. “ … This’ll be a really good test, the next few days.”