Deck qualifies for U.S. men’s amateur

Kelowna golfer plays two solid rounds of golf at Marine Drive to earn berth in prestigious American tourney

Kelowna's Will Deck will be at Oakland Hills in Michigan next month to play in the U.S. men's amateur golf championship.

Motivated by a disappointing result the previous week at the B.C. men’s amateur golf championship, Will Deck delivered the goods on Monday at Marine Drive Golf Club in Vancouver.

The 24-year-old from the Harvest Golf Club in Kelowna finished second overall in a USGA qualifier, earning one of two spots into next month’s 2016 U.S. men’s amateur golf championship.

With a two-round score of even par 140 (67-73), Deck will join fellow qualifier, Marine Drive’s Chris Crisologo (65-69), at the prestigious tournament, Aug. 15 to 21 at Oakland Hills in Michigan.

“This is probably one of the best feelings I’ve had in a long time,” Deck said on Tuesday morning while returning home from Vancouver. “I’m very happy, it feels great to get into the (U.S. amateur).”

Deck wasn’t so positive last week after letting the B.C. men’s amateur championship slip through his fingers.

He was tied for the lead late in the third round at Qualicum Beach, but a quadruple bogey nine and a triple-bogey eight on two of the final three holes effectively took him out of contention.

Deck still ended up finishing a respectable fifth, six shots back of the winner, but the experience left a bad taste in his mouth.

On Monday at Marine Drive, he used it to his advantage.

“That experience, the mental breakdown I had last week, it helped me get through this,” Deck said. “It was an eye-opener, it showed me what I needed to do and I was able to get it done.”

After a tough start to the second round Monday, Deck finished strong with a birdie on his 16th hole of the day, followed by a hole-out out on the 17th, and then a 40-foot birdie putt on the 18th to officially secure the qualifying berth.

As for competing in next month’s U.S. amateur, Deck said it will mark his career highlight to date.

“It will be by far the biggest I’ve played in, it’s the best tournament for amateurs in the world,” he said. “It’s the hardest to win and it’ll be the best field I’ve ever been in. Just competing in it will be an incredible experience.”

B.C. junior girls…

Kelowna’s Tiegan Taylor tied for 14th place at the B.C. junior girls golf championship in Pemberton.

The 17-year-old member of the Kelowna Golf and Country Club carded a four-day score of 312 (75-76-82-79) at Big Sky Golf Club.

KGCC’s Emma Sabbagh finished in a tie for 20th with a 329 total.

Taylor, who also finished 14th a week earlier at the B.C. women’s amateur, is in New Jersey this week for the USGA junior girls championship.