SASKATOON, Sask. (Aug. 17, 2007)-- It took 38-holes but Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C. got it done and captured Canada’s biggest amateur golf crown edging Michael Knight of Calgary at the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship at Riverside Country Club in Saskatoon, Sask.
Taylor and Knight battled all day with both holding leads at varying points in the match. When one player looked like they would take control, the other battled back to push into contention. Knight at one point earned a 2-up standing and then Taylor rallied, swinging a five-stroke momentum in his favor to move to 3-up.
The 19-year old, Taylor had several chances to finish Knight but just when he needed it, his putter that carried him through the week disappeared. He three-putted the final three-holes and Knight pulled even on the 36th.
On the 38th-hole Taylor and Knight both found themselves in the bunker. Knight who was away, sailed his bunker-shot over the green and out of bounds. Taylor, the 2006 Canadian Junior Boy’s Champion, put his next shot on the green and Knight conceded the match.
“It was tough the last few holes,” said Taylor. “My putting wasn’t there like it was all week. I just had to hold my composure and put everything in perspective. I kept telling myself to hold tough and work through it.”
The 19-year old Taylor becomes only the second player to win the Canadian Junior Boy’s Championship and then follow it up by winning the Canadian Men’s Amateur title a year later. Brent Franklin of Calgary is the only other to have achieved that feat when earned his second junior title in 1984 and then captured his first of three amateur titles in 1985.
“It’s amazing to have won both of these titles so close together,” said Taylor. “To put my name up beside others like Richard Scott and Doug Roxburgh… that’s just a huge honour for me. I can’t even put it into words.”
By virtue of advancing to the Canadian Amateur final, both Taylor and Knight have earned exemptions along the RCGA’s Pathway to Champions into the 2008 Canadian Open, July 21-27 at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont
“To play with the pros when I’m 20, that’s just crazy,” said Taylor. “It’s going to be a good week, something I’ve always dreamed about. I know Mike and I are going to have lots of fun next year.”
Taylor’s road to the Earl Grey Cup included posting an opening round 2 & 1 victory over Daniel Kim of Toronto, Ont. In his second round match he defeated Britt Pronk of London, Ont, 3 & 2 and followed that by dusting Darren Hupfer of Edmonton, Alta 7 & 6. On Thursday Taylor edged David Markle of Shelburne, Ont. 2 & 1 and finished off Renaud Langevin of Scott, Que. 4 & 3 to secure his fate in the final match.
Although Knight quietly inched his way through match-play this week he was considered a favorite. Just last week Knight captured the prestigious Pacific Coast Amateur Championship in San Diego – a championship which includes past winners Curt Byron, Billy Mayfair, Jason Gore, Ben Crane and Canadian James Lepp of Abbotsford, B.C.
Knight’s road to the final saw him edge Lindsay Renolds 3 & 2 in the opening round and then in his second match beat Matthew Steinbach of Qualicum Beach, B.C. on the 19th-hole. Yesterday he followed by besting David Byrne of Essex, Ont. on the 22nd hole in the quarter finals and then topped Graham Hill of Bright’s Grove, Ont. 1-up.
Both Taylor and Knight are off to the US Men’s Amateur Championship next week at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif. From August 20-26.
Next year the 2008 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship is set for Paradise Canyon Golf Resort in Lethbridge, Alta from August 8-15, 2008.
NOTES: Today’s 38-hole match is the longest since Moe Norman’s match in 1955 went 39-holes against Lyle Crawford of Vancouver, B.C. … After Nick Taylor three-putted on the 16th the match was delayed 45 minutes due to lighting… Kris Wasylowich of Lethbridge, Alta has caddied for the past two-runner up finishers at the Canadian Men’s Amateur. Today he caddied for Michael Knight and last year he caddied for Todd Halpen of Calgary… Wasylowich the No. 1 seed was eliminated from play during the third round… Canadian and PGA Tour pro Mike Weir finished twice as a runner up at the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship in 1991 and 1992… Earlier this week, Alberta claimed their third consecutive Willingdon Cup inter-provincial team championship. The win marks Alberta’s fifth since 1999 in Willingdon Cup play… 2006 Champion Richard Scott made the jump to the professional ranks last winter and is no longer playing as an amateur.
--Story courtesy RCGA