“Yeah, it’s just been an unbelievable week,” Taylor said yesterday at the Credit Valley Golf & Country Club after the Royal Canadian Golf Association announced the 11-member team.
But hot streaks are nothing new to Taylor. In a two-week period last summer, he won the Canadian Amateur championship and reached the quarter-finals of the U.S. Amateur. He is also a former Canadian and B.C. junior champion (both 2006).
The U.S. Open represents the next big challenge in his skyrocketing career, which he hopes is headed to the PGA Tour after he graduates from the University of Washington in 2010.
The major tournament will begin a week from today at Torrey Pines in San Diego and Taylor will get a taste of competing alongside the world’s best, including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and fellow Canadians Mike Weir and Stephen Ames.
“This is the tournament I’ve always dreamed of playing in,” said Taylor, who booked his ticket to Torrey Pines by winning a 36-hole qualifying tournament in Creswell, Ore., on Monday. “It’s not going to sink in until I’m down there.”
Taylor, one of seven Canadians in the 156-man U.S. Open field, said qualifying isn’t satisfaction enough. He wants to play well.
“I just want to play my best and see where it takes me,” he said. “… I think that I could make the cut.”
Taylor isn’t the only member of the national team who’s on a roll. Sue Kim has won both of the events this year on the CN National Women’s Tour, a developmental circuit for touring professionals.
Kim, 17, of , B.C., said she’d like to stay on tour and compete in the next Women’s Tour event in Winnipeg later this month, but she has to get home to finish Grade 11. “I have to do makeup classes and exams,” she said.
In August, Kim will compete in the CN Canadian Women’s Open in Ottawa.
The five other men chosen for the national team yesterday are Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, Graham Hill of Forest, Ont., Michael Knight of Calgary, Mathieu Rivard of Granby, Que., and Mark Sommerfeld of Waterloo, Ont.
Joining Kim on the women’s side are Sara-Maude Juneau of Fossambault, Que., Maude-Aimée Leblanc of Windsor, Que., Kira Meixner of Richmond, B.C., and Stephanie Sherlock of Barrie, Ont.
The national team, which originated in 2005, has been trimmed to 11 players this year from 15 last year. The RCGA said a smaller number allows it to focus its limited financial and other resources more intensely on individual players.
Team members receive everything from coaching and equipment to fitness training and psychology support. They have a full schedule of stroke-play tournaments to compete in. As a team, their agenda culminates in the world amateur team championship in Australia in October. Three men and three women will represent Canada.