Smith joins Palmer, Reilly, with four straight Amateur titles

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.

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