CAL O’Reilly’s days of camping on a mate’s sofa bed during tournaments are over at least for a while.
What’s more the Toronto professional can map out a playing schedule for the next year without the burden of winningprize money to fund it.
The 27-year-old finished fifth, going down to good friend James Nitties in the quarter-final of the matchplay, in the $1.75 million World Super 6 Perth at Lake Karrinyup Country Club.
Although short of a breakthrough win, the $56,270 prizemoney from the co-sanctioned European and Asian event will allow the fourth-year pro to prepare better.
The purse was more than the $41,467 he collected last year when 48th on the Australiasian order of merit. His previous biggest pay cheque was $12,593 at the 2017 New Zealand Open for finishing tied for 15th.
“It takes the financial pressure off,” O’Reilly said. “It means I can plan out the next 18 months really well. I have my card wrapped up, I can just go out and try to keep playing like I did this week. Keep contesting and try and get a win.”
O’Reilly fired rounds of 72,71,68 to be at five under and one of nine players tied for 17th at completion of three stroke rounds. The top 24 progressed to the six-hole matchplay knockout on Sunday, forcing a shootout on the 18th hole.
“In the play-off there were nine players for eight spots,” O’Reilly said. “I played a bit of army golf – right, left, right, left – and got it on the green and had 30-foot for par. Basically playing in a play-off at the 18th at Lake Karryinup, if you make par you are safe. I holed the putt and it meant I got to go home and rest up straight away.”
O’Reilly beat Pavit Tangkamolprasert (2 and 1) in the first round of matchplay, accounted for Thorbjorn Olesen (1 up) in round two before falling to Nitties.
“If I had to lose to anyone, I’m happy it was someone like Nitts,” O’Reilly said. “He is an absolute legend and is an awesome bloke for us guys back in Newcastle to hang out with and learn off. We have a really good mate in WA that we stayed with. One slept on the sofa bed and the other in a proper bed. The winner got the bedroom. Playing the fifth hole, the par-three down the hill, I thought I had the upper hand. Then the bastard holes a 35-footer across the slope, which is what James Nitties does.”
Nitties went on to make the final, where he went down to four-time European tour winner Kiradech Aphibarnrat (2 and 1).
“No-one likes losing,” O’Reilly said. “I wanted to be there at 5pm, putting out on 18, but I still feel like I gave it my best shot. The match against Olesen, I played my best golf. I was three-under through six holes. The putter was on fire and that is why I can’t hate Nitts too much for holing a few.”
O’Reilly and Nitties will head a six-man Hunter contingent including Aaron Townsend, Nick Flanagan, Nathan Green and amateur Dylan Perry in the $125,000 Queensland PGA in Toowoomba starting Thursday.
* Nitties is never one to take things too seriously and revealed before the final in Perth that he was simply happy to make the top 24.
“My caddie looked at me after how I hit it on Tuesday and I promised him I wasn’t a Tuesday player,” he said. “I haven’t really been playing great but the putter has been good. It was good to make the match play. It brings it back to your childhood when we used to play pennants and interstate series. It is good to play this format, it’s fun.”
* Jacob Dundas, the nephew of Nathan and Darren Green, shot a one-over 72 to win the Karuah Cup on Saturday, the first event on the Newcastle District order of merit. The 14-year-old won on a countback from Mick Coutman (Waratah).
Adrian Callaghan won the Karuah Shield (handicap) with a nett 67 on a countback from Nathan Stokes.
* Charlestown and Merewether remain unbeaten after two rounds of A-Grade pennants. Scott Telfer and Craig Jones led Merewether to a 6.5-1.5 triumph over Newcastle. Mat Clarke and Ben Howey starred for Charlestown in a 6-2 win over Toronto.
In the other match, Justin Ely and Ben Hillard were dominant as Waratah beat Pacific Dunes 6-2.