Florida's Banks rediscovers comfort level on course

Florida junior Eric Banks won the 2014 David Toms Award.

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It has taken some time, but Eric Banks is finally feeling more comfortable on the golf course.

Banks, a junior at Florida, is almost two years removed from open-heart surgery in June of 2012 and just more than a year into his return to college golf.

"I was a little nervous when I first returned (last spring)," Banks said. "I've been a little protective (of my chest), especially through impact, but my backswing has gotten longer and I'm swinging faster. It's nice to not have to be so worried, and I feel a lot more comfortable."

• Click here to read more about Banks' long road back to college golf.

The Canadian has taken on a more prominent role in the Gators' young lineup this season. He enters this week's regular-season finale at the Old Waverly Collegiate as a recent winner of the 2014 David Toms Award, which is given to the men’s collegiate golfer who has overcome adversity to achieve collegiate excellence.

"It's exciting and to win is a great honor," Banks said. "Hopefully it's something that I'll be able to look back on and be proud of for the rest of my life."

Banks has already faced more than his fair share of obstacles off the course, which has helped him handle those on it. He's started in eight of nine events for the Gators this season, notching three top 20s. Yet, Banks knows this is a rebuilding year for a team that lost two of the most decorated players in program history, Tyler McCumber and T.J. Vogel.

"We've still stuck together and stayed pretty positive," Banks said. "We're going to try and finish off the year strong and hopefully come back next year very positive."

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