With his first season as an NHL referee under his belt, Elmira native Garrett Rank is getting back into the swing of things, winning the Ontario men’s mid-amateur golf competition at the Westmount Golf and Country Club in Kitchener on June 25.“It was fun. It’s always good to come away with the victory early on in the season, when you’re just trying to get out of the gate with a good start, and get your game back in shape for a busy month of July,” Rank said. “It makes you feel good that you’re working in the right direction.”
The 54-hole competition included Ontario’s best golfers who are 25 and older who qualified through one of nine qualifying tournaments. He completed the round three-under (70) to finish the tournament with a seven-under (74-68-70-212).
“I played pretty well” Rank said. “I putted really well all week. I made a few mistakes every now and then, but I made a lot of birdies and hit a lot of good shots, and really took advantage of the opportunities when I had them.”
He’ll spend the next two weeks preparing for the Pan American Games at Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham, and then the Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club the following weekend. Despite winning the Canadian men’s mid-amateur championship in Barrie last year, he says these are pretty high on the list, competitiveness-wise.
“They’re probably two of the bigger events. These are home games essentially in the Toronto area, and pretty big events,” Rank said.
As for how his golf season’s been going prior to the mid-amateur win, the 27-year-old says he’s happy with how he’s been playing.
“The week before I shot 371 with the semi and amateurs and finished middle of the pack,” Rank said. “It was good. It was my first week back in competition and I played three half-decent rounds and shot 371, which is a pretty highly competitive field and I was happy with how it went. And then last week winning the mid-am got the competitive streak just going again.”
Rank will represent Canada at the Pan Am Games in golf along with Austin Connelly, Lorie Kane, and an undetermined other female golfer as Brooke Henderson has dropped out to focus on pursuing a professional career in golf. This will be the first time golf has been included at the Pan Am Games.
“I know I’ll have some family and friends there,” Rank said. “I haven’t had anything planned. I don’t have any busses or anything like that coming down. But I’m sure there will be some familiar faces and I’m really looking forward to that.”
While he’s focused on golf for the summer, Rank will return to reffing NHL in the fall, something he’s definitely looking forward to.
“It was awesome,” Rank said. “I did nine NHL games and just finished up with the Calder Cup Finals in the American Hockey League a couple weeks ago. It went really well. It was a good learning experience, found some pretty good success and had a lot of fun.”
Despite this being the largest competition he’s ever taken part in, Rank is feeling optimistic about bringing Pan Am glory back to Elmira.
“My game’s in good shape,” Rank said. “It’s moving in the right direction. I played at Angus Glen before, got some home course advantage there. I’m going there with the hopes of coming home with a medal.”