There Can Only Be One: Nick Taylor Canada's Best Amateur?

On the same day the Golf Journalists Association of Canada voted Matt Hill in as the top Canadian male amateur, the RCGA named Nick Taylor as the country’s top college male player. So who is right?

I’d say the RCGA got this one correct. Anyway, here’s the details:

For the second year in a row, Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C. and Stephanie Sherlock of Barrie, Ont. are recognized as Canadas top male and female amateur golfers as the Royal Canadian Golf Association (RCGA) announced the final standings for the 2009 National Order of Merit presented by Under Armour.

In the mens national ranking, 21-year old Taylor tops the list after a stellar season that saw him capture the Low Amateur Medal at the U.S. Open held at Bethpage State Park – Black Course after finishing tied for 36th. He also won the Sahalee Players Championship; was a member of Canadas champion Four Nations Cup team; was runner-up at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship; and managed a tie for third at the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship.

Sherlock’s year wasn’t quite as impressive — but still pretty solid:

On the womens side, Sherlock, a senior studying business at the University of Denver, elevated her game to yet another level in 2009 winning the Ron Moore Womens Intercollegiate Tournament; being named second team All-American for a third successive year; and finishing tied for 11th at the NCAA Championships.

In 2009, while continuing to hone her skills on Team Canada for a fourth successive year, the 22-year old finished third at the Royale Cup Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship and second at the Ontario Women’s Amateur Championship.

Brights Grove's Matt Hill

Brights Grove's Matt Hill

So what about Hill? He won six times and had a remarkable year all told. His list of accomplishments in 2009  is stellar to say the least,with eight wins, including the NCAA individual honors:

T3rd – 2009 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship
2009 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship – Willingdon Cup Winner (Team Ontario)
Champion (Team Canada) – 2009 Four Nations Cup
2009 Ontario Amateur Championship – Champion
2009 AT&T National – T70 (made cut)
2009 NCAA (Div. 1) Championship – Individual National Champion
2009 NCAA Regional Championship – Individual Regional Champion
2009 ACC Conference Championship (NCAA) – Individual Champion
2009 River Landing Intercollegiate (NCAA) – Individual Champion
2009 Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitiational (NCAA) – Individual Champion
2009 General Hackler Invitiational (NCAA) – Individual Champion

Here is Taylor’s stats:

T3rd – 2009 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship
Champion (Team Canada) – 2009 Four Nations Cup
Runner up – 2009 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship
Champion – 2009 Sahalee Players Championship
Low Amateur Medal Recipient – 2009 US Open
T36 – 2009 US Open (Bethpage – Black Course)
1st – 2009 US Open Sectional Qualifier (Roslyn, Wash.)
Named Pac-10 Player of the Year
Named a semifinalist for the prestigious Ben Hogan Award
T9 – 2009 NCAA (Div. 1) Championship 
2nd “ 2009 NCAA Regional Championship
T1 – 2009 CordeValle Collegiate (NCAA)
Individual Champion – 2009 Hawaii-HIlo Intercollegiate (NCAA)
Individual Champion – 2009 Oregon Duck Invitational (NCAA)
Individual Champion – 2009 U.S. Intercollegiate (NCAA)
2nd – 2009 Pac-10 Championship (NCAA)

Along the way, Taylor tied the record for the lowest score recorded by am amateur in the U.S. Open, certainly a remarkable accomplishment, as well as finishing T36 in the tournament overall. He was runner up in the Publinks.

Both missed the cut at the RBC Canadian Open.

Currently Taylor is the third-ranked amateur in the world, while Hill is seventh (source).

So who was the better player last year? Tough to argue against Hill, but my choice in the GJAC awards was Taylor.

Abbotsford, BC's Nick Taylor

Abbotsford, BC's Nick Taylor

 Certainly some of that comes from the fact that he was the top-ranked amateur in the world for a spell, as well as his play at the U.S. Open, which was remarkable. And it wasn’t like he didn’t win some — including the US Open sectional. For many it was probably too close to call.

Interesting, as a conclusion, to note Eugene Wong was one of five selected on the RCGA’s Team Canada team, along with Mitch Sutton, although neither are in the Top 5 on the RCGA’s order of merit list. I know there is a method to the madness in these selections — but this one confuses me:

Men’s – Top 10
Nick Taylor, Abbotsford, BC                     2065
Matt Hill, Bright’s Grove, ON                    1770
Brady Johnson, Mill Bay, BC                     956.5
Cam Burke, New Hamburg, ON                680
Mitchell Evanecz, Red Deer, AB                601
Marc-Etienne Bussieres, Gatineau, QC       585
Cory Renfrew, Victoria, BC                      580
Mitch Sutton, London, ON                        525
Eugene Wong, North Vancouver, BC          502.5
Darren Wallace, Langley, BC                    495

Women’s – Top 10
Stephanie Sherlock, Barrie, ON                1441
Sue Kim, Langley, BC                             1256
Maude Aimee LeBlanc, Sherbrooke, QC      1255
Jennifer Kirby, Paris, ON                         1119
Nicole Vandermade, Brantford, ON           1081
Sara-Maude Juneau, Fossambault, QC       1051
Kira Meixner, Richmond, BC                     982
Megan Chapman, Thornbury, ON              504.5
Caroline Kim, Port Coquitlam, BC              452.5
Anne-Catherine Tanguay, Quebec City, QC 420

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Taylor had a great year. Hill had a better year.

    In making Taylor’s case, you’ve omitted a bunch of similar awards/finishes for Hill. You also included 1st at a qualifier for Taylor? hahahahaha…you’re reaching, Thompson!

    1st – 2009 US Open Sectional Qualifier (Roslyn, Wash.)
    (point made above)

    Named Pac-10 Player of the Year
    (What about Matt Hill’s similar award in the ACC? I guess you missed that one)

    Named a semifinalist for the prestigious Ben Hogan Award
    (the Hogan award…ahh yes. What about Matt Hill WINNING the award? I guess you missed that one too)

    Hill also won the Big 4 championship as medalist.

    Not to mention the fact that Matt also was named ACC Male ATHLETE of the Year…first time a golfer has ever won that award.

    Only one other golfer before Matt Hill has won Conference, Regional and National NCAA titles in the same year. Ironically that is your other favourite golfer to mis-report…Tiger Woods.

  • Ian (Sakimano): These stats are from the RCGA — it is their list of accomplishments, and I’m not sure how I “misreported” a list of facts straight off a fact sheet for the Canadian National Team. I get your point that there is a debate here — which is what I SAID.

    Yes Hill won an award at the end of the year– and Taylor tied the record for lowest score by an amateur at the US Open. You take Hill, I’ll take Taylor, but I don’t see how I misreported anything.

    And I assume you’ve caught that Hill won the Nicklaus Award, not the Hogan Award. Wouldn’t want any misreporting from you…

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