Many members may already be aware of the immense talent of young 13 year old Riley Gott and have witnessed him in action at the club. His father, Andy, of course, is well known to all of us. He has been our popular Club Professional for the last six years and has over the years had success in PGA events around Australia when he was a touring professional (1994-1999). He has several pro-am victories and holds/held course records at The Cut (65) and Pink Lake in Esperance (67)
So it is little wonder that his son has been inspired by his father and under his guidance has attained one of his goals – a Scratch Handicap, which at the age of 13 is in itself a tremendous achievement.
As we have seen in the last couple of years Riley has played very well in our own Nedlands Junior Masters winning his Age Division in both years.
Around two weeks ago his entry was accepted into the WA Open to be played at the Royal Fremantle Golf Club from Friday 16th Ocober to Sunday 18th October But before he could be included in the final field he had to attempt to prequalify at WA Golf Club, where he is also a member. Around 72 players teed it up on Monday vying for one of the 24 available spots. After posting a five over round of 75 he had to nervously wait around for about an hour for the final 20 players to finish to ascertain his fait. At the end he was in a tie for twentieth position with ten other players, so a sudden death play-off was necessary to determine the final five positions. Riley parred the first play off hole – the long par 3 first hole and secured his spot in the WA Open field – much to his relief and that of his father.
So now it was time for the first round of the WA Open on Friday. Riley was calm and collected but his caddy Andy was one very nervous father. Starting from the tenth tee in the final group, Riley started well and a birdie on the par 4 thirteenth saw him as equal leader. Two double bogeys on the fifteenth and seventeenth spoiled a good nine. He played steadily on his second nine, but bogeys on the fourth and seventh holes saw him slip to a five over par round of 77 and in equal 36th position. The challenge now was to make the cut after the second round where fifty players (plus ties) would go through to the final round.
In the second round Riley started from the first tee and a bogey on the first hole was not the start he wanted. However three birdies and a bogey saw him back to one under for the day. A somewhat careless double bogey on the seventh saw him turn in one over par.
His last nine was a mixture with another three birdies, a double bogey and a bogey (on the Par five eighteenth) saw him finish with a creditable one over par 73 – which was the thirteenth best score for the day – not bad out of a field of 80 players.
His two round total of six over par made the cut easily (eleven over par) and saw him in equal twenty first position going into the final day.
The draw for the final round was favourable with him drawn to play with Michael Long and Kirsten Rudgeley in the first group off the tenth tee. Even with the card after the first six holes, a high finish looked a possibility. However five bogeys in the next eight holes ruined his chances. Riley showed real character finishing the last four holes in one under par.
His final round of 76, coupled with his first two round scores, saw him finish in a very creditable 32nd position along with the likes of 2020 WA PGA winner Jarryd Felton and former Nedlands Masters winner Daniel Fox.
Riley at the age of thirteen showed maturity beyond his years and that he can mix it with the best. Both he and his father Andy and his family should be very proud of his achievement.
Congratulations from all the members of Nedlands Golf Club. We look forward to the next chapter in Riley’s career and wish him every success for the future.
From – Greg Fitzhardinge
Footnote – Club Champion Tristan Geerlings also prequalified for the WA Open but was unsuccessful in making the cut.