CAL O’REILLY is gearing up for a big summer, starting with the Victorian PGA on Thursday.
The Toronto right-hander is using the $100,000 72-hole championship, which is back on the calendar after a year absence, as a lead-up to the major Australiasian events.
“The Vic PGA is the start of my preparation,” he said. “It’s a lead up to the rest of the summer and a chance to try and tune up a couple of things. Everything has felt pretty good but it is about making it great. The driver feels good, the iron play is good, chipping feel is good. It is about making it feel great which is a hard task.”
O’Reilly flew to Melbourne on Monday and will play practice rounds at Cape Schanck Resort on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“The course is right at the bottom of the Mornington Peninsular,” he said. “I have never played it before. The last time I played the Victoria PGA it was at Huntingdale and I actually played pretty well but made a triple or something at the last. I hit the wrong ball which was marked literally the same as mine.”
O’Reilly, who turned 28 on Sunday, will be after a repeat of his strong start to the year, highlighted by top five finishes at the Handa World Super Six in Perth, Queensland PGA and New Zealand Open.
After missing the cut at the Fiji Open and finishing out of contention at the Northern Territory PGA, he played well in the Hunter pro-am swing and is “primed for a big assault”.
“I’m still top 10 in the order of merit and that sort of thing,” he said. “It has set me up in a good position and I’m looking forward to next year.”
After the Victorian PGA, O’Reilly heads to Japan for the third stage of Q School.
O’Reilly is one of four Hunter players in the Vic PGA field alongside Nick Flanagan, James Nitties and Aaron Townsend.
Flanagan will head back to the US after the tournament for the second stage of web.com tour school. He returns for the NSW Open at Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club on November 8-11.
* Pacific Dunes club professional Jamie Hook fired a three-under 65 to be a stroke behind leader Alex Edge entering the second round of the $30,000 Castle Hill Pro-am on Tuesday.
Aaron Townsend is in a group of eight players tied for third at even par.
* West Australian Brody Martin continued his sizzling pro-am form, finishing alongside Scott Arnold at seven under to be joint winner of the 36-hole $22,00 event at Morisset on Sunday. The win followed success at Wyong last month and was his fifth for the year. Townsend led the Hunter contingent finishing in a tie for seventh at three under.
* Corey Lamb and Hayden Gulliver will tee up in the Keperra Bowl in Brisbane on Tuesday in solid form after both finished in the top 10 at the NSW Country Championships.
Lamb had rounds of 67,70 to be at three-under in Goulburn to place fifth. Gulliver (69,71) was three strokes back in 10th. Lamb’s uncle and multiple Branxton club champion Mark Hale (60,65) was equal third at six under. Maitland duo Blake Palmer (69,72) and Clayton Small (71,72) made the top 20. Canberra’s Josh Armstrong was the winner at eight under.
NSW Junior Champion Jye Pickin is also competing at Keperra.
* Bulahdelah will hold its opening day on Sunday October 21 and is hoping a new course record is set. Justin Ely carded a three-under 67 when the Waratah Pennants team visited last month.
* Charlestown gun Blake Windred has switched focus to the West Australian Open later this month after a credible performance at the Asian Pacific Amateur Championships in Singapore.
Part of a six-man Australian team, Windred carded rounds of 72,69,70,69 to finish even par and at a tie for 24th.
“My first Asian Pacific Amateur has been a blast,” he said “This tournament has been one of the most of the enjoyable weeks away I have experienced. Played some great golf and learnt a lot in tough, humid conditions.”
Aberdeen’s Dylan Perry (73,67,69,71) also finished even par is what was his last tournament as an amateur.
Perry, who is now based on the Gold Coast, plans to turn pro and hopes to earn an invite for the NSW Open at Twin Creeks next month.