Eric Banks of Truro, N.S. suffered a major setback to his budding golf career when doctors discovered he had an atrial septal defect – a hole in his heart – in 2011.
The then 19-year-old former Nova Scotia Junior and Amateur Champion was a member of Team Canada’s National Squad and had just entered his freshman year with the Florida Gator in NCAA Division I golf.
The news sidelined Banks for nine months from competitive golf as he was forced to undergo open heart surgery to repair the defect.
Upon his return to competitive action, Banks finished tied for 10th at the Gator Invitational in his first start back. In addition, he went on to Monday qualify for the 2013 RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club, where he opened with a 1-over 73 in his PGA Tour debut.
Banks, now 21, still takes medication but received good news in December when no problems were detected during a check-up at home in Nova Scotia. Already this season, the junior has finished inside the top 20 twice in only four starts.
The David Toms Award is presented annually to a men’s collegiate golfer who has overcome adversity to achieve excellence. Banks is the first Canadian to be honoured with the award and appeared on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive on Tuesday morning.
Going to be appearing on the Golf Channels show The Morning Drive this Tuesday! No April fools, segment starts at 940 Scotia time #liveTV
— Eric Banks (@EricBanks19) March 30, 2014