When Nathan Smith holed the final putt in last week’s West Penn Amateur at Sewickley Heights, he had won his fourth consecutive title, 2007-10. Other four time winners are Arnold Palmer, 1949-52, and Bob Reilly, 1960-63. This trio is tied for second with consecutive titles, with Sean Knapp’s sixth straight, 1998-2003, being the high water mark.
Smith has won at Sunnehanna, beating Mike VanSickle in a playoff, Bedford Springs, Allegheny, and Sewickley Heights.
Reilly, with his four titles, is somewhat overlooked in Association history, especially compared to Palmer. Reilly, who played at Highland CC, was a fine player from his junior days, winning the WPIAL title in 1948 right after Palmer. He was University of Pittsburgh’s #1 player, 1950-52, qualified for two US Amateurs and one US Open, won two Brothers titles with William, ’51 & ’56, and three WPGA Four-Ball titles with Leo Barisano, ’54, ’60’ & ’61. In addition he recorded three top five finishes in the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur, 1960-64. He was considered the finest amateur iron player of his era. A dentist, he moved to Florida where he was also an outstanding senior player. Reilly won fourteen club titles at Highland, and nine more senior championships at Delray Dunes GC, Delray Beach, Florida.