CALLAN O’Reilly speaks to good friend and fellow touring professional Jake Hingginbotton “every other day”.
In a fortnight, the Toronto 27-year-old hopes to join Higginbotton at the Singapore Open as a member of the Asian Tour.
O’Reilly is one of 21 Australian players competing in the first stage of Asian Q School in Thailand, played across four courses, starting Wednesday.
About 80 players (17%) progress to the final stage from January 10-14.
After a disappointing 2016, Higginbottom finished 47th on the Asian order of merit last year to secure his card for a fifth straight season.
“I speak to Jake every other day,” O’Reilly said. “I am pretty aware of what he has had to go through, especially coming back out of Q School to get his status back. I know it is a hard road, but it would be pretty cool if I could get the chance to travel around with him. At least I would know I have someone that is well experienced. He has been up there four or five years now. It would be pretty cool to be able to travel around with a good mate.”
O’Reilly, who is playing at the St Andrews 2000 course in Rayong about, has worked hard over the Christmas-New Year break after a underwhelming finish to the Australasian season.
He finished 48th on the order of merit to retain his card but missed the cut at the Australian Open and Australian PGA.
“I didn’t play well at the Aussie Open or the PGA,” O’Reilly said. “I just didn’t strike it well.”
Prior to the major events of the Australian summer, O’Reilly finished tied for 18th at the NSW Open, 24th at the Queensland Open and second in the West Australian Open.
“I’m just trying to get my game back to where it was at,” he said. “I lost my long game in the last two events. I have been working hard on the range trying to get the right swing feel so I’m ready to go.”
St Andrews 2000 is a 7111 metres par 74 course which includes two par-six holes.
* Jye Forrester has started a traineeship at Toronto.
A Toronto junior, Forrester has played for Pennants Hills in the Sydney major pennants for the past three years.
“He has come through the juniors here and wants to give it a crack,” Toronto professional Darren Green said. “He is certainly good enough.”
Forrester will travel to Sydney each Monday to play trainee tournaments and complete business and coaching courses over the next three year.
* Popular Merewether club pro Peter Johnston is out of hospital and on the mend after a nasty fall off the roof of his house. Johnno was fixing Christmas lights when he slipped and fell almost 10 metres to the ground. He suffered fractured ribs, a punctured lung, broken collarbone and a fractured and will be on light duties for a month. Down the Fairway wishes him a speedy recovery.
* Ken Madden ceases to amaze. The evergreen 83-year-old bettered his age by 10, shooting 73 to win the Merewether A-grade stableford competition with 43 points on Saturday.