Rank repeats win at Early Bird
For the Times-Journal
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 8:59:42 EDT AM
Garrett Rank won his second consecutive Early Bird Championship this weekend at St. Thomas Golf & County Club. The 24-year old Elmira native is only the sixth golfer in tournament history to accomplish the feat. In photo, Rank chips from a bunker on No. 8
Heading into the final round of the Early Bird Amateur Championship, 2011 winner Garrett Rank paused a moment before heading out to the first hole at St. Thomas Golf & Country Club on Sunday morning to have a look at the past winners' board, which is featured prominently in the club house .
The Elmira, Ont. native was aiming to join elite company as a repeat winner at the 63-year-old tournament. The pause proved to be all the inspiration the 24-year old needed as Rank cruised to a win, defeating runner-up Simon McInnis by four strokes."Before the round, I actually looked at the board and saw some of the names of back-to-back champions," Rank told the Times-Journal. "It was definitely one of my goals to get my name up there two years in a row to solidify the win last year."
Rank, who was the low golfer Saturday after firing a 69, closed Sunday with a 74 – a score that he admits could have easily been higher – giving him a two-day total of 143.
"I forgot golf was supposed to be fun for the first four holes [on Sunday]," explained Rank, who battled back from testicular cancer last year to win his first Early Bird. "But I told myself, I have the skills and abilities to win this tournament so right the ship here. And I did and played really solid the last 14 holes."
Drew Symons, who won the Early Bird in 1998, finished third, five strokes back of Rank, with a 148.
Rank joins Moe Norman (1949-50), Gary Cowan (1960-61, 1964-65), Kelly Roberts (1973-74), Warren Sye (1987-88) and Bill Seagris (2001-02) as the only back-to-back winners in Early Bird history.
Next up for Rank, who just graduated from the University of Waterloo with a business finance degree, is the Canadian University Championship in Victoria. And while he is eager to do well there, the next two tournaments are even bigger. On Monday, June 4th, Rank is playing in the U.S. Open Sectionals in Springfield, Ohio and June 18th to June 23rd, he is heading to the British Amateur Championship at historic Royal Troon in Scotland as a member of the Canadian national team.
"This win is great for my confidence," said Rank, who spends his winters working as a referee in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). "I will use this weekend as a simulation for the rest of my summer."
Scott Hepburn, who tied for fourth with Ryan McInerny and Quinn Vilneff, was the low scorer amongst local golfers with a two-day total of 149 (77-72).
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