From the age of six in Barrie, Ontario, Brent always wanted to be a pro golfer. As part of a golfing family, father Ralph, mother Lenore, and sister Cynthia he certainly had the environment to succeed. From the age of five the golf course became Brent’s second home. He said: “I’ve always wanted to be a golfer. When I was five or six, I started going to the practice range with my Dad. He gave me a cut-off seven iron and I hit balls with it until the head came off.” He played in several local Ontario junior tournaments. His first official win came as a tie (84) in the 1977 Father & Son Division Class C.
Fortunately for Brent, in 1981 his father’s bank transferred him to Vancouver, BC. The Franklins joined the Shaughnessy G&CC. Now Brent began to hone his golfing skills under the expert eye of Jack McLaughlin, head professional. Jack’s fellow Canadian club professionals credited Jack with operating the premier junior golf program in the country. Jack recognized Brent’s natural talent. “He looks like a golfer, just standing there. He’s a great prospect. Of all the kids I’ve taught in 27 years, he has the purest mechanical swing for his age.”
Immediately, Brent began to show his exceptional talents in the local junior events, winning the 1982 BC Juvenile crown. In 1983, he began his incredible string of wins as an amateur golfer, winning the Vancouver City Junior, BC Junior, and the Canadian Junior titles. From 1983 to 1988, he won a national championship each year: two Canadian Juniors, three Canadian Amateurs, and a Canadian Professional Golfers’ Championship. No other Canadian golfer has accomplished this feat. He joined Canada’s premier golfing legend George S. Lyon by winning three consecutive Canadian Men’s Amateur Championships 1985,1986, and 1987.
Throughout his amateur career he oozed with confidence. In 1985, after winning two consecutive Canadian Junior titles, he received little respect from the reporters at the Riverside CC in Saskatoon, Sask. This provided him with the incentive to win. On the final hole, he casually tapped his final putt fully expecting it to drop. He missed. He casually proceeded down the first extra hole fully expecting he could win against veteran Canadian Amateur golfer Stu Hamilton.
In 1987 he arrived at the Derrick Golf & Winter Club in Edmonton, AB with only one goal. A win would make him the first Canadian amateur golfer to capture three consecutive men’s amateur championships since the great George S. Lyon accomplished the feat from 1905 – 1907. Several great Canadian players such as Moe Norman, Jim Nelford, and Nick Weslock had copped two consecutive titles.
After his national win in 1987 he turned professional. In 1988 at the Emerald Hills G&CC in Stouffville, ON he won the Canadian Professional Golfers’ Association championship. His win, the first occasion for a Canadian professional to complete the task as a rookie, further elevated Brent’s stature as one of Canada’s premier golfers.
In 1990, he decided to postpone his entry to the PGA Tour. He decided to try his luck on the Asian tour. In his first year, he won over $300,000 in five top ten finishes. “When I feel I am good enough I’ll try the PGA school again. This is a great playing ground for me to improve as a player.” After three years on the Asian Tour, Brent’s athletic good looks, powerful swing, and aggressive style made him a standout. Then disaster struck. While jogging, a car struck him in the back. After the accident, Brent returned to Vancouver for his recovery period. He had moderate success on the Canadian Tour but he lacked the old confidence and swagger he exhibited as the leading Canadian Amateur golfer. Today, Brent is the women’s golf coach at the University of Colorado.
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