Royals' Dustin Franko earns spot at national championships

Royals' Dustin Franko earns spot at national championships

The incredible story of Dustin Franko's rookie season for the Douglas College Royals will have one final chapter.

Franko finished tied for third place at the 2018 PACWEST Golf Championships in Nanaimo, and although he lost a playoff with VIU's Wyatt Brook that awarded the bronze medal to the sophomore Mariner, his 3-day score of 222 was enough to earn him an individual place at the upcoming CCAA Golf National Championships in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

The rookie started slow, finishing 8 strokes off the leader with a 76. In the second round he improved with a 74, but the gap widened as the players above him were able to do a few strokes better. On the third round, however, Franko was unstoppable, posting the best score of the round with a 72, while the leaders shot 74s and 77s, moving him into a tie for third. Wyatt Brook won the playoff round to earn the bronze, but Franko's big push on the final day was enough to secure his place at Desert Blume golf course.

"He brought it when it mattered," said Royals assistant coach Mark Slota. "He knew he had to put up a good score in the final round or he wasn't going to nationals, and he did exactly that."

Earlier this year, Franko said that Nanaimo Golf Club, host of this year's PACWEST championships, was a course he felt very comfortable on, and he expected to finish the conference season strong. He's made good on that, but now he will face his biggest challenge of the year, as the national tournament will be his first event of the season at a course he has never played before.

The 2018 tournament is being hosted by Medicine Hat College, and marks the first time that the CCAA Golf National Championships will be hosted in Alberta. The event runs from the 15th to the 19th of October.