As he wound his way around sunbaked Sunnybrook Golf Club on Tuesday, Hugh Reilly tried to think about anything but the $45,000 check he could take home for winning the Haverford Trust Classic. But there were too many dollar signs filling his head to eliminate the cash from his thoughts.
"I was thinking, 'This is a lot of money,' " said the head professional at Twining Valley Golf Course in Dresher. "I was thinking, 'If I blow this, my wife will kill me.' I was thinking, 'My daughter wants to go to [Mount St. Joseph], and if I win this I can probably send her there.' It's probably the most nervous I've ever been."
But the 45-year-old Reilly, who said he never has won a points event in the Philadelphia Section PGA before Tuesday, kept his mind on golf long enough to shoot a career-low 7-under-par 65 and grab the victory - and the huge pot of money - over fast-closing Travis Deibert.
Reilly, who carded seven birdies, finished two hours before Deibert in the 18-hole event for one of the largest first-prize purses for PGA club pros in the country. Deibert, an assistant at Commonwealth National and the winner of this event in 2009, had an 18-foot birdie putt for a tie at the 18th but missed, and wound up three-putting for bogey and a 67 - and $5,000 second-place money.
Reilly carded a 91, including a 14 on the par-3 fifth, in this event last year. As the head pro at a public course, he doesn't get a chance to play much - he estimated that Tuesday's round was only his fourth 18-holer of the year.
He went the entire day without a bogey as his caddie, Temple junior Alex McPherson, read the greens to near perfection.
Reilly saved par out of a bunker at the par-3 15th to keep his round going but he executed his shot of the day two holes earlier after he snap-hooked his tee shot into the woods. He found a small opening and push-sliced a 4-iron through and on the green, where he two-putted.
Reilly admitted he shouldn't have tried the shot out of the woods but added, "I do dumb things like that all the time."
Said Deibert, "I've played with Hugh. Hugh can play. Obviously, he played a great round. He set the bar, and I just couldn't catch him."
Hugh Reilly, Twining Valley. . . 34-31-65
Travis Deibert, Commonwealth Natl.. . . 33-34-67
Shawn Matthews, Squires. . . 36-35-71
Jake Gerney, Trump Natl-Phila. . . 38-33-71
Kevin Melrath, Linfield National. . . 32-39-71
Scott Hunter, Overbrook. . . 34-38-72
John Pillar, Woodloch Springs. . . 35-37-72
Chris Wisler, Tee-It-Up Golf. . . 38-34-72
Neil Maurer, Bayside. . . 37-35-72