James Nitties returns to Hunter for golf pro-ams

James Nitties returns to Hunter for golf pro-ams

IN a coup for local golf, US web杭州夜网m Tour professional James Nitties is a confirmed starter for two pro-am events in Newcastle in coming weeks.
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The Charlestown product will play the Waratah Pro-Am on October 24, followed by the 54-hole Morisset Pro-A from October 25.

‘‘I don’t think I’ve ever played a professional event in Newcastle like a pro-am,’’ Nitties said.

‘‘I’ve played the NSW Open at Newcastle, but I’ve never played the Waratah or Morisset pro-ams as a professional, so it’ll be exciting.’’

While Nitties is likely to be the biggest name in the events, he is not expecting an easy run.

‘‘There’s a lot of good little players coming up in Newcastle, so it’s not really a cakewalk,’’ he said.

‘‘There will be a lot of young fellas who will be wanting to prove themselves, I’m sure.

‘‘It will be good to get out and play some competitive golf in Newcastle.’’

After returning home from the US three weeks ago, Nitties has kept himself busy playing several Sydney pro-ams.

The practice paid off with the 30-year-old finishing third at the WA Goldfields PGA Championships in Kalgoorlie on Sunday.

Nitties carded 279 (73-68-68-70), nine under par, to finish a shot behind Melbourne trainee Jack Wilson, who won after a one-hole play-off against Kiwi Nick Gillespie.

Nitties had his chances to win in the home stretch.

He missed a two-metre birdie putt on the 16th and then bogeyed the 17th.

‘‘When I was four-over through 10 holes at the start of the week I would have been happy to have a chance to win, but the way I played in the last three holes was pretty average because I had a good chance to win,’’ he said.

Nitties will stay in Western Australia for the $2million Perth International, which tees off on October 17.

■ Tanilba Bay 13-year-old Carter Nepia has overcome some obstacles in his short golf career.

Last year he spent seven months off the fairways following surgery to repair a slipped growth plate in his leg.

But he overcame that setback to qualify for A-grade this year and on Saturday he took the lead in the Tanilba Bay Club Championships.

Nepia opened his first round with three birdies to turn one-under.

He eventually finished two-over 74 to hold a four-shot lead from Colin Woodward, Rick Smith and Martin Jolly.

The round of 74 also reduced Nepia’s handicap to five.

■ Long-time Nelson Bay golf buddies John Rowland and Brenton Bradford will arrive in Bonville today eager to replicate their last successful outing in the NSW Men’s Foursome Championships.

The pair won the title in 2008 on their home course.

‘‘We were a bit lucky as it was at Nelson Bay, so it suited us, and the practice round got washed out so we had a fair advantage on the other fellas,’’ Rowland said. ‘‘We’re really looking forward to going to Bonville.’’

Rowland plays off 18 and Bradford is a 30-marker.

The two-round championships begins tomorrow.

■ Brendan Smith jetted out to China on Sunday for his first OneAsia Tour event this year.

The Belmont touring professional qualified for the $1.058million China Masters at the Nanshan International Golf Club in Longkou starting on Thursday based on his Australasian Tour ranking.

Charlestown’s Aaron Townsend is 10th on the OneAsia order of merit with earnings of $72,305 from five events played but has not entered the China Masters as he is playing a tournament in Japan.

James Nitties will play the Waratah Pro-Am on October 24, followed by the 54-hole Morisset Pro-A from October 25.