He shot to prominence playing nine holes with Adam Scott but Caloundra trainee Bailey Arnott can establish a new claim to fame after qualifying for the final of the Coca-Cola Pampling Plate at Caboolture Golf Club.
Arnott will face off against Sanctuary Cove’s Mitchell Smith in the 36-hole final on Thursday after both came through their quarter-final and semi-final matches on Wednesday.
Arnott was tasked with getting past AJ McCoy in his semi-final after McCoy had accounted for a second former Pampling Plate champion in as many days, defeating Dean Jamieson 1 up in the quarter-finals.
“To knock over the past two champions of the event in consecutive matches is a pretty good feeling,” a happy McCoy said after advancing to a semi-final showdown with Arnott.
With a place in the final up for grabs the tension reached new heights in the afternoon semi-final matches, Arnott securing Caloundra bragging rights with a hard-fought 1 up win in a match of the highest order.
“It’s been a dream week so far but there is still a big day tomorrow to go so trying to keep it all in check,” said Arnott, who spent three months at Iowa State University prior to the Covid outbreak and then returned to the Sunshine Coast for pick-up matches with Scott, a long-time friend of Bailey’s father Tom.
Smith’s path to the final was slightly less stressful as he recorded convincing wins in both of his matches.
The 2021 NSW PGA Associate Champion at Moruya Golf Club earlier this year, Smith moved past Ray Harris 5&3 in the quarter-finals and then overcame arguably the player of the tournament to date, Harrison Wills, 5&3 in the semi-final.
Given Arnott’s connection to a former world No.1, Smith is ready to embrace the underdog tag for the 36-hole finale.
“It feels like I have snuck under the radar a little this week with most of the other favoured players playing each other,” said Smith.
Wills and McCoy will play over 18 holes to determine third and fourth positions with the final between Arnott and Smith to commence at 7.20am.
Live scoring of the final is available at pga.org.au.