Rank cruises to Mid-Am semis
Updated: September 11, 2012 8:06PM
LAKE FOREST — Garrett Rank never made it to the 16th hole in either of his matches at the USGA Mid-Amateur at Conway Farms Golf Club on Tuesday, and that’s a good thing.
The 25-year-old Canadian won his first match 8 and 6, and he followed that up with a 5-and-3 victory over Matt Cohn to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time at a USGA tournament.
“I had a good start on the front nine, and I had some momentum from the big lead to coast in,” Rank said of his win over Cohn, who is from San Francisco.
A survivor of testicular cancer, Rank closed out his day at Conway Farms with a par on the 15th.
“I enjoy match play,” said Rank, a hockey referee in the Ontario Hockey League. “I don’t make a lot of birdies, but I am not a mistake-maker.”
Rank, who is considering turning pro sometime next year, made two birdies against Cohn. His biggest error came at the 10th when he needed two chips around the green for a double bogey, but he was leading by five holes at the time.
“I lost my concentration,” he said. “I was trying to be a little too cute.”
In his morning match against Scott Harvey of Greensboro, N.C., Rank made six birdies and an eagle to cruise to the win.
Rank plays New York City’s Matthew Mattare, the only other 20-something in the quarterfinals, on Wednesday morning.
Nathan Smith, a three-time Mid-Amateur champion, advanced to the quarterfinals with a 19-hole win against fellow Pennsylvanian and good friend Sean Knapp, who was the best man at Smith’s wedding.
Knapp, 50, led by one after No. 16, but Smith, 34, squared the match with a par at the 17th. Smith won on the 19th — the 385-yard, par-4 first hole — with a par.
“It was an ESPN Classic match,” Smith said. “I don’t know what to say. It’s tough playing a great friend like that. ... I hope it never happens again.”