(November 11, 2016) -- Five years ago former
Mississippi State standout Joespeh Deraney decided he was going
to play in the Tennessee State Amateur because he
liked the host course Colonial Country Club. That
weekend after a hiatus from competitive golf Deraney,
who was living in the Memphis area at the time, finished
third and restoked his desire to compete.
In 2015 Deraney's name started to appear regularly
on the top of national leaderboards and he nearly broke
through with a big win at the Lupton Invitational. The
current Nashville, TN resident finished regulation tied
for first before ultimately losing in a playoff to Charles
Waddell. The runner-up finish was one of five top-10
AmateurGolf.com Ranking event finishes last year and
the strong play propelled him into 2016 brimming with
Over the winter the then Kentucky resident did the
best he could to keep his game sharp, "winters
especially in Kentucky the golf clubs go away in
November and don’t come back out until February or
March depending on the weather."
In late March Deraney, a reinstated professional,
washed the rust off his clubs with an appearance at the
Azalea Invitational before officially splashing onto the
national scene in May. The month began with a tight
win at the
Timuquana Cup and concluded with a wire-to-wire
triumph at the Lupton Invitational.
"It is a big win," the 33-year-old said following his
Timuquana Cup win. "I came close last year a bunch of
times, so it is a nice start to the year. It takes a little bit
of the pressure off because I have a win."
Those words could not have wrung more true as
Deraney, the sixth ranked AmateurGolf.com Mid-
Amateur, continued his strong play over the
summer winning the Kentucky Mid-Amateur.
In many ways the Kentucky Mid-Amateur win was
the biggest of the summer for Deraney who was trying
to play his way onto the Bluegrass States USGA Men's
"My goal this year was to make the Kentucky USGA
Men’s State Team and that meant that I would have to
play in a lot of Kentucky state events, which was good
because it allowed me to stay close to home and also
keep the game sharp," Deraney a husband and father of
young children said.
Besides winning the Kentucky Mid-Amateur there
was a final four run at the Kentucky Match Play, a
second place finish at the State Amateur and a second
low amateur finish at the Kentucky Open. The series of
high finishes ensured that Deraney would reach his goal
and join teammates Andy Roberts and Denver Haddix
for the event at the Country Club of Birmingham.
"It was wonderful," he said. "It was only my second
USGA event with my first coming at the U.S. Public
Links but it was wonderful to represent the state of
Kentucky. Unfortunately we didn’t play our best but the
people of Birmingham and the USGA couldn’t have
treated us better."
Top 2016 AmateurGolf.com Ranking Finishes
| Timuquana Cup
Invitational ||1st|| |
|Canadian Mid-Amateur ||T4||
|Stocker Cup ||1st||
|Crane Cup ||T7||
With that goal in the books Deraney had one more
bullet point left on his 2016 itinerary and that was a
better close to the season than a year ago. "The Stocker
was the one mid-amateur event last year that I felt like
I just didn’t play well (in) so I was determined to play
better," he said.
And player better he did, Deraney took the lead on
day one and never trailed as he won in
Thanks to the win Deraney has moved up to 192nd
in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, which is significant
because anyone inside the top-400 doesn't have to play
in U.S. Mid-Amateur sectional qualifying. "The main goal
since I told my wife (Sarah) that I wanted to play a little
more was that I wanted to be top-400 of the World
Amateur Golf Rankings and that way I don’t have to
qualify for the U.S. Mid-Amateur every year and I can
kind of just put it on the schedule."
An appearance in the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur would
be a career first for Deraney, the closest he came
previously was in 2013 when he was the first alternate.
What makes his position even more impressive is
that Deraney started the month of May ranked 2,337th
in the world. That is an almost unimaginable leap of
After completing his career at Mississippi State in
2005, where he finished third all-time in rounds played
Deraney delved into the world of professional golf and
had some success winning a half dozen times while
playing on mini-tours. However, by the time the 2009
season came to a close Deraney was feeling burnt out.
"I took some time off after playing basically every
week for 2-3 years in the professional ranks, I just got
burnt out," said Deraney. "I can’t say I ever lost the itch
to compete but I just burned out."
Following the third place Tennessee State Amateur
finish in 2011 Deraney still didn't tee it up with great
frequency and it wasn't until he and his family moved to
Kentucky in June 2012 did he really attempt to compete
on the national amateur circle.
"I just told my wife that I really enjoyed that
experience (of playing in the Tennessee State Amateur),
that I hadn’t had it in a while and that I think I want to
play a few more. That one tournament kind of got my
feel back for competition, I just hadn’t done it for so
long and I went and played it and figured that I could
still compete and it went on from there," said Deraney.
It certainly has gone from there and if 2016 is any
indication of what the amateur golfing world can expect
then there is much more to come from Joseph Deraney.
"The ultimate goal is to be able to play in really any
tournament that I would like to and win every career
mid-amateur event at least once," a confident Deraney
stated. "I think it is a reasonable goal if I get to play in
them 10-12 times."