In 116 times being played just one Canadian, Jim Nelford in 1977, had won the prestigious Western Amateur Championship.
That was, until Saturday, August 3rd when NHL Referee and Elmira, Ontario native Garrett Rank added his name to the substantial trophy.
Rank prevailed in the final match against Daniel Wetterich, a 3&2 victory at the Point O’Woods Golf & Country Club in Benton Harbour Michigan.
He joins the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods as a past winner.
Like those elite players, Rank is no stranger to trophies. The 31-year-old has a resume chock full of victories including the Ontario Men’s Amateur and Mid-Amateur in 2018 and a multiple Canadian national titles at the Mid-Amateur level.
A graduate of the University of Waterloo and a testicular cancer survivor, Rank has long been a contender at major U.S. events for amateurs (he was the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up) but the Western Amateur victory is a breakthrough of sorts.
He called the win in Michigan, earning the George R. Thorne trophy, “The end of a dream week”, noting, “I’ve had a lot of close calls in big events. To finally break through is huge. I’m a big believer in the more you put yourself under pressure you learn something every time. I relied on that.”
The win earns Ranks an exemption into a Korn Ferry event, the 2020 Evans Scholars Invitational at The Glen Club in Glenview, Illinois but he’ll continue to play as amateur. As he has stated in the past he is already living his dream, working within the NHL while playing a world-class golf schedule in the off-season.
He is competing at the Canadian Amateur this week in Halifax and will trade his clubs for his skates after the Canadian Mid-Amateur Championship later this month.