Golf: Jake Riley dominates district at age of 14

RISING STAR: Toronto teenager Jake Riley with the Newcastle district championship trophy on Saturday at Pacific Dunes. Picture: Supplied
RISING STAR: Toronto teenager Jake Riley with the Newcastle district championship trophy on Saturday at Pacific Dunes. Picture: Supplied

Toronto tyro Jake Riley is eyeing more open events after becoming likely the youngest ever Newcastle district champion on Saturday at the age of just 14.

The Fishing Point local, a year 8 student at Toronto High School, shot a one-under 71 at Pacific Dunes to beat a field of 90.

In doing so, Riley also claimed the junior title as well as both champion of club champions crowns.

Riley won the district title by four shots from Merewether's David Cook, a month after taking out the Toronto club championship.

Tanilba Bay's Carter Nepia was believed to have been the youngest Newcastle district open champion after winning in 2016 at the age of 16.

"I was pretty stoked with that," said Riley, who turned 14 in August.

"It was good to get the club championship a couple of weeks ago, and to get that as the youngest and then this, it's pretty cool.

"Pacific Dunes is a really tough course so I just played sensible and smart, just plotted a way along and made a couple of birdies and it was just a solid day.

"My confidence from the club championship was boosted but I just tried to go in there to have a good day and play golf and see how it went, and it worked out well."

The record-breaking win continues "a pretty good year" for Riley, who also won the state junior title in his age group and the open Parish Cup Vardon event at Muree.

His next targets were NSW Open pre-qualifying at Liverpool on Monday, Jack Newton Junior Golf's Bonville Champions Trophy and the W.E Alexander Open at Waratah.

The W.E Alexander, on November 30 and December 1, is the final Newcastle district event in the order of merit.

Riley is also looking to debut at the Australian, Avondale and NSW amateur contests in the new year.

James Marshall (Nelson Bay) was another winner on Saturday, taking the nett score title with 70.

Brett Porter, from Toronto, shot 79 to claim the seniors (over 55s) district championship.

On Sunday, the district B and C-grade championships were held at Belmont.

In its second year, the event attracted 65 starters.

Newcastle District Golf Association secretary Rod Carruthers won B-grade on his home course with 84, one stroke ahead of Dave Evans (Shortland Waters) and Brian Kendall (Belmont).

The nett winner was Steve Thomas (Belmont) with 70, while the champion of club champions was Brett Webber (Hawks Nest).

In C-grade, Warren Allen (Belmont) won with 95, one shot ahead of junior Cooper Walton (Hawks Nest).

Mick Maddock (Sugar Valley) was the nett winner with 74 on a countback. Champion of champions was Bruce James (Sugar Valley).

** Charlestown's Blake Windred gave himself a chance to progress at the halfway point of the European Tour Qualifying School in Spain.

Windred was tied for 62nd at two under after rounds of 71, 67 and 75 at the six-round final stage at Lumine Golf Club in Tarragona. Dane Ben Poke led at 12 under.

The top 70 players after four rounds moved onto the deciding final two rounds, from which the top 25 earned their European Tour card for 2020. The fourth round was due to finish on Tuesday morning (AEDT).

Those who qualified for the final two rounds also guaranteed their position on the European Challenger Tour.

Novocastrian Nick Flanagan was also in the final stage mix, sitting tied 121st at two over after rounds of 74, 69 and 73.