Dade City, Fla. – Most would likely take a mulligan if asked where Truro, N.S., was on a map.
However, the University of Florida’s Eric Banks resides from the town of roughly 12,000 people and is also one of Canada’s most promising golfers.
Banks is proud of his hometown and is looking to put Truro “on the map” by reaching his goal of turning pro.
“I like being from a small town, everyone knows each other,” said the 21-year-old junior. “I think if I was to play well as a pro and let people know where Truro is, I think that would be a cool thing”
Currently taking part in the USF Invitational, Banks put a disappointing opening-day 78 behind him on Monday, improving 10 strokes and finishing with a 33 on the back nine.
Banks appears on his way to achieving his dream of playing on the PGA Tour, getting a taste of the pro life by qualifying for the 2013 Canadian Open.
“It was really good. I got exempt into the Monday qualifier [at the Canadian Open] and then I shot 66 that [day] and I was in a three-way playoff for one spot. I ended up birdieing the third hole so that got me in,” Banks said. “I got to play with a couple pros in the practice round so it was a really cool experience.
“Billy Horschel [who also went to University of Florida] and I played a practice round and he was teaching me; what to do, where to hit it and just watching those guys play and observing them – I learned a lot.”
All of this success didn’t come without struggles. Banks recently had open-heart surgery in the summer of 2012, an event that has changed his whole perspective on both golf and life.
“Definitely,” he said. “At one point I couldn’t even walk up the stairs in my own house so if I have a bad day on the golf course it’s not that big of a deal anymore because I was at such a low point.”
Now healthy, Banks can focus on his development, which he credits playing on Team Canada for getting him to this point.
“Oh, it’s awesome,” Banks said. “I’ve been on Team Canada for probably three, maybe four years now, and we come down to Florida in the winter or Arizona, and do training camps together so it’s always nice to wear the Canadian shirt during the summer.”