NHL referee Garrett Rank wins the prestigious Western Amateur, defeats Daniel Wetterich in the final
Canadian Garrett Rank makes his living in a winter sport, yet he also is accomplished at a summer sport, as he demonstrated again on Saturday, when he won the prestigious Western Amateur at Point O’Woods Golf and Country Club in Benton Harbor, Mich.
A National Hockey League referee, Rank, 31, defeated Daniel Wetterich of Cincinnati, 3 and 2, in the final to become the first Canadian to win the tournament since Jim Nelford in 1977. Rank is also the first mid-amateur to win the title since Danny Green in 1997.
“This is the end of a dream week,” Rank told Matt Harness, covering the event for the Western Amateur. “I know how important and cool this is in amateur golf. It hasn’t sunk in yet, and I’m sure I’ll be even more proud when it does.”
Past champions of this event that began in 1899 include Francis Ouimet, Jack Nicklaus, Lanny Wadkins, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
Rank, who played in the U.S. Open in 2018 and missed the cut, finished fifth in the 72-hole stroke-play part of this tournament. The top 16 advanced to match play.
In each of his four matches, Rank trailed at one point. He was down one through five holes in his match with Wetterich, who recently graduated from Ohio State. Rank then took the lead with a birdie at the seventh hole and never trailed after that.
Rank will play in the Canadian Mid-Amateur Championship on Aug. 20, then will report to the NHL’s training camp two weeks later.
He entered the Western Amateur at 97th on the World Amateur Golf Ranking.