In 2016 Joseph Deraney became a force to be reckoned with
11 Nov 2016
by Sam Dostaler of AmateurGolf.com

see also: Joseph Deraney Rankings

Joseph Deraney during the Stocker Cup <br>(Amateur Golf Photo)
Joseph Deraney during the Stocker Cup
(Amateur Golf Photo)

(November 11, 2016) -- Five years ago former Mississippi State standout Joseph Deraney decided he was going to play in the Tennessee State Amateur because he liked the host course Colonial Country Club. That weekend after a hiatus from competitive golf Deraney, who was living in the Memphis area at the time, finished third and restoked his desire to compete.

In 2015 Deraney's name started to appear regularly on the top of national leaderboards and he nearly broke through with a big win at the Lupton Invitational. The current Nashville, TN resident finished regulation tied for first before ultimately losing in a playoff to Charles Waddell. The runner-up finish was one of five top-10 AmateurGolf.com Ranking event finishes last year and the strong play propelled him into 2016 brimming with confidence.

Over the winter the then Kentucky resident did the best he could to keep his game sharp, "winters especially in Kentucky the golf clubs go away in November and don’t come back out until February or March depending on the weather."

In late March Deraney, a reinstated professional, washed the rust off his clubs with an appearance at the Azalea Invitational before officially splashing onto the national scene in May. The month began with a tight win at the Timuquana Cup and concluded with a wire-to-wire triumph at the Lupton Invitational.

"It is a big win," the 33-year-old said following his Timuquana Cup win. "I came close last year a bunch of times, so it is a nice start to the year. It takes a little bit of the pressure off because I have a win."

Those words could not have wrung more true as Deraney, the sixth ranked AmateurGolf.com Mid- Amateur, continued his strong play over the summer winning the Kentucky Mid-Amateur.

In many ways the Kentucky Mid-Amateur win was the biggest of the summer for Deraney who was trying to play his way onto the Bluegrass States USGA Men's State Team.

"My goal this year was to make the Kentucky USGA Men’s State Team and that meant that I would have to play in a lot of Kentucky state events, which was good because it allowed me to stay close to home and also keep the game sharp," Deraney a husband and father of young children said.

Besides winning the Kentucky Mid-Amateur there was a final four run at the Kentucky Match Play, a second place finish at the State Amateur and a second low amateur finish at the Kentucky Open. The series of high finishes ensured that Deraney would reach his goal and join teammates Andy Roberts and Denver Haddix for the event at the Country Club of Birmingham.

"It was wonderful," he said. "It was only my second USGA event with my first coming at the U.S. Public Links but it was wonderful to represent the state of Kentucky. Unfortunately we didn’t play our best but the people of Birmingham and the USGA couldn’t have treated us better."

With that goal in the books Deraney had one more bullet point left on his 2016 itinerary and that was a better close to the season than a year ago. "The Stocker was the one mid-amateur event last year that I felt like I just didn’t play well (in) so I was determined to play better," he said.

And player better he did, Deraney took the lead on day one and never trailed as he won in coast-to-coast fashion.

Thanks to the win Deraney has moved up to 192nd in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, which is significant because anyone inside the top-400 doesn't have to play in U.S. Mid-Amateur sectional qualifying. "The main goal since I told my wife (Sarah) that I wanted to play a little more was that I wanted to be top-400 of the World Amateur Golf Rankings and that way I don’t have to qualify for the U.S. Mid-Amateur every year and I can kind of just put it on the schedule."

An appearance in the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur would be a career first for Deraney, the closest he came previously was in 2013 when he was the first alternate.

What makes his position even more impressive is that Deraney started the month of May ranked 2,337th in the world. That is an almost unimaginable leap of 2,145 spots.

After completing his career at Mississippi State in 2005, where he finished third all-time in rounds played Deraney delved into the world of professional golf and had some success winning a half dozen times while playing on mini-tours. However, by the time the 2009 season came to a close Deraney was feeling burnt out.

"I took some time off after playing basically every week for 2-3 years in the professional ranks, I just got burnt out," said Deraney. "I can’t say I ever lost the itch to compete but I just burned out."

Following the third place Tennessee State Amateur finish in 2011 Deraney still didn't tee it up with great frequency and it wasn't until he and his family moved to Kentucky in June 2012 did he really attempt to compete on the national amateur circle.

"I just told my wife that I really enjoyed that experience (of playing in the Tennessee State Amateur), that I hadn’t had it in a while and that I think I want to play a few more. That one tournament kind of got my feel back for competition, I just hadn’t done it for so long and I went and played it and figured that I could still compete and it went on from there," said Deraney.

It certainly has gone from there and if 2016 is any indication of what the amateur golfing world can expect then there is much more to come from Joseph Deraney.

"The ultimate goal is to be able to play in really any tournament that I would like to and win every career mid-amateur event at least once," a confident Deraney stated. "I think it is a reasonable goal if I get to play in them 10-12 times."

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