JAMES Nitties is an unabashed fan of the World Super 6 tournament in Perth.
And with good reason.
Nitties loves the unique format, it is played at one of his favourite courses, Lake Karrinyup, is co-sanctioned with the European and Asian tours, and he finished second last year, losing the final to Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnra.
The $1.6 million tournament features three rounds of stroke play, before the top 24 players battle it out in a series of elimination six-hole shootouts on the final day.
"I love it," Nitties said. "You have three rounds of qualifying so it is not really luck to get to the match play. Then anything can happen. There is something about not having to worry about the rest of the field. You are a lot more in control. It's not every man for themselves. It is you versus another guy. As a kid we used to play a lot of pennants and match play events. Then you turn pro and hardly play any."
Nitties won a pro-am in Victoria last month which used the Super 6 format. He followed that up last week with a spectacular opening round in the Victorian Open, notching a world-record nine straight birdies on the way to a 64.
"I have been playing good but not putting it all together," said Nities, who splits his time between Newcastle and Dallas. "Obviously that round I did, but I started the birdie run with with a double bogey. I'm really happy with where the game is at and what I'm working on."
Nitties, a former US PGA tour member who has been playing on the Australasian Tour and mini-tours in the US since losing his playing status on the second-tier web.com tour in America in 2015, went down two-and-one to Aphibarnra in last year's decider. Aphibarnrat, 28, claimed his fourth European Tour title with a two and one win, nailing an eagle and then a birdie to seal victory.
"It was a combination of me hitting a couple of poor shots and Kiradech getting red hot," Nitties said. "It's hard not to relive it when you are playing the holes. I don't have any sour memories of last year. I should have lost the first match - the guy I was playing missed a four-footer for the win - and ended up making the final."
The Charlestown right-hander collected $181,101 in prize money and improved his world ranking 623 places to 401.
"It was great and helped me cover some expenses," he said. "This year is a new year. Every year you have to prove yourself and try an get better."
Nitties is one of six Hunter players teeing up on Thursday alongside Nick Flanagan, Jake Higginbottom, Andrew Dodt, Cal O'Reilly and Dylan Perry.
He is playing in a group alongside Flanagan for the first two rounds.
"We are staying together and now we are playing together, which is awesome," Nitties said.
"We are still go to be intense and focused but it also gives you that little bit of comfort when you are playing with each other in a big event."