After an incredible performance in his first ever collegiate golf tournament, Douglas College's Dustin Franko is looking ahead to a fantastic first season as a Royal.
"I didn't really know what to expect, but I had a solid practice round with 7 birdies, so I knew a really low score was possible", said Franko of his 146-shot score at the Langara tournament, good for 5th place at the first PACWEST event of the season.
Franko finished the first day of the tournament with a score of 69, placing him into a tie for first with VIU Mariner Wyatt Brook, who would fall to a T2 after a huge push from UBCO's Marcus Apchin on the second day of play. As for Franko's Sunday, an error in judgement led to a quadruple bogey on the fourth hole, pushing him to 4 over par for the round, which he couldn't battle back from. His score on the second day was over par by exactly four, as a single mistake ended up costing him.
"I tried to battle back, but it felt like I just ran out of holes," Franko said. After the second round had concluded, Franko found himself with a 75 on the day, dropping him from first to fifth in the leaderboards. However, even in the face of this disappointment, a fifth-place finish in a first outing as a collegiate golfer is an incredible accomplishment, and indicates a bright future for the North Delta native.
Despite falling out of first place in the season opener, Franko is optimistic about the upcoming tournaments. "I have lots of experience playing the upcoming courses, so hopefully that gives me the upper hand against the rest of the field," said Franko. Many of his family members live in Kelowna, where the upcoming UBC Okanagan tournament is to be held this weekend. Franko spent lots of time at the Okanagan Golf Club growing up, and even played a competitive tournament at the club's Bear course where the UBCO tournament is being held. Franko has played competitive golf at every course being used for the 2018 PACWEST season, and is especially comfortable with the Nanaimo Golf Club, host of the 2018 PACWEST Golf Championships. "I shot 72 both times I've played there in tournaments, and the course suits my game very well," said Franko of the Vancouver Island course. Franko is "really looking forward" to the three-day event and hopes he, along with the rest of the Royals golf team, can make a push to secure a place at nationals in October.
Asked about an outlook on his performance for the remainder of the season, Franko said "I know I have it in me to win and my game is where I want it to be, so it's just a matter of time before I can put it all together and pull of an individual win."
The second tournament of the 2018 PACWEST season gets underway this weekend at Okanagan Golf Club in Kelowna.