A very different perspective with former champs
by Randy Pascal
Tristan Renaud and Kyle Rank come at the 71st Annual Idylwylde Invitational from completely different perspectives, but share a
common bond as two of the top contenders heading into the event which kicks off today with the qualifying round.
At just 16 years of age, Renaud followed up an impressive victory at the Ontario Junior Golf Championships last summer with his win at the
longest running match play event in the country, becoming by far the youngest ever recipient of the Inco Trophy hardware.
And having already qualified for both the 2018 Canadian Junior Boys Championship in Medicine Hat (July 30th - August 2nd) and the Canadian
Men's Amateur Championship in British Columbia (August 6th - 9th), safe to say that Renaud is pretty much on top of his game as he looks to defend.
"It's a hometown thing for me, something that I really want to play in when I am able to," he said. "It used to be that this was the biggest tournament
I would play all year. It's not the case any more, but it's still something I hold pretty close to my heart."
In spite of his youth, the Lockerby Composite senior echoed many of the thoughts from previous champions with regards to the fortitude needed
to emerge victorious come Sunday afternoon at the Idylwylde.
"It's a marathon, a three-day marathon if you make it all the way," said Renaud. "To win this thing, you have to be in it for the long haul. You have
to play some good golf, be able to grit it out even when it's not going well. That's what I did a good job with last year. If I had some adversity, I would
get up and down, I would do something cool to bounce back."
His game still evolving, Renaud suggested that there is certainly a little more pressure, this year, given his run of 2017. "It's not a bad thing," he
said. "If anything, it just builds confidence. Before, I kind of had something to prove. Now, I have something to prove, but it's not about being able to
win, but more about catching up to records."
Two time tournament champion Kyle Rank will celebrate his 36th birthday just eight days after Renaud turns 18 this coming December. Winning it
all in both 2014 and 2016, a finalist in 2013 and quarter-finalist in 2015, Rank missed the cut for championship flight last July.
"I'm probably more relaxed this year," said Rank, enjoying a practice round with Mike Roberts and Derrick Filloon on Thursday. "I felt,
for some reason, really nervous last year. I played well on the front nine but made one bad swing on 12, clipped a tree and lost a ball, and it all just
kind of unraveled from there."
At a very different stage in his life than the collection of young guns that will battle it out for a top-16 berth, the former AHLer is comfortable with
his game, his mindset, entering an event that he knows all too well.
"I've been playing really well," said Rank. "I played in the Mid-Am (Mid-Amateur Championship), which is kind of a nice tune-up, playing three rounds of
stroke play. I'm more relaxed, just trusting my game, going out there and letting it happen."
"My oldest daughter is seven now, so I've been trying to drag her out to the range a few nights a week," Rank added. "I've learned to be a little more
patient, just relax. The biggest thing for me (on Friday) is to score on the par fives, use my length to my advantage and score well."
Round one stroke play will wrap up early Fridya evening, with the top sixteen golfers making their way to the championship flight, with match play also
in use for the next three flights of play.
The final head to head showdown typically tees off on Sunday afternoon, some time between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. There is no admission fee for visitors
interested in taking in some of the action.