Duntryleague’s James Conran has captured the final Regional Qualifying place for next month’s NSW Open at Twin Creeks after taking out the Bathurst Open by three shots.
Conran carded rounds of 68 and 66 to finish at eight under par in a dominant performance. Young’s Joel Shields and Concord’s Corey Lamb were tied in second place, Reece Hodson of the Australian finished a further shot back in fourth, and Commonwealth’s Daniel Gill finished in fifth.
Despite the thunderstorms which threatened on Saturday, the scores where excellent. Lamb, Gill, and the Australian Golf Club’s Nicholas Crews sat in a three-way tie for the lead at four under par with another five players in red figures after the first round.
Conran was a shot back and quietly confident of being in the mix at the end. It didn’t take him long on Sunday to get going either, making three birdies in his first four holes to snatch the advantage.
Two more birdies on the 10th and 12th left him in complete control; then, after driving the green on the 17th, it was simply a case of no mistakes up the last for Conran to walk in one of the biggest wins of his amateur career.
“I played pretty good all weekend.
“I started well both days, birdieing three of the first four holes. It always helps,” Conran said.
This year’s NSW Open will be the second for the 20-year-old who teed it up at Stonecutters Ridge in 2015 alongside his father, Steve, a winner on the Japanese and Australasian PGA Tours.
“I played a couple of groups behind Dad.
“I was leading at one stage in the first round, and Dad was coming second.
“I was five under through ten, and he was four under; it did look kind of funny on the leaderboard. I ended up shooting three under,” he added.
A second round 79 meant he missed the cut by a few shots. This time, however, he is determined to make it to the weekend.
“I’m playing much better now than what I was playing like back then.
“Making the cut and four good rounds under par will be the aim,” he said.
Conran could have the added advantage of his father’s knowledge come November, with his father Steve possibly acting as his caddy for the week.
“Dad was thinking of playing the Pre-Q, but he might caddy now.
“It can be a bit onerous with him on the bag; we’ll see how it goes.”
Phillip Campbell from Bathurst Golf Club and Micheal Brislane from The Lakes were the NSW Senior Open Qualifiers from the event. They will tee it up at Thurgoona Country Club when the $100,000 tournament gets underway this Friday.