Riordan gets Aussie boost
Story by: WAYNE MARTIN - Nelson Mail - Photo by: Patrick Hamilton and Chris Symes
Comfortably beating New Zealand's top amateur golfer at the recent Australian amateur championships clearly hasn't done Blair Riordan's career prospects any harm.
Riordan's handy 5 and 3 win over Masterton's Ben Campbell in the first of two elimination rounds in Melbourne just under two weeks ago simply provided New Zealand's selectors with further evidence that the 21-year-old Takaka player is ready for the next step in his burgeoning representative career.
He's one of two Tasman players named in New Zealand teams to contest the Trans-Tasman Cup at the Peninsula Country Golf Club in Melbourne from March 7-9; Riordan in the senior men's lineup and Greenacres' Ryan Chisnall in the under-19 team.
Riordan joins New Zealand's experienced No1 Campbell in the men's squad, with Hamilton's New Zealand amateur champion Mathew Perry and Gore's Vaughan McCall completing the lineup.
Sixteen-year-old Chisnall, who finished tied for third with Levin's Tyler Hodge at the New Zealand under-19 championships last August, joins Hodge and the player who clinched that under-19 title, Titirangi's Sam An, in the New Zealand under-19 team.
The recent winner of the North Island under-19s, Te Awamutu's Compton Pikari, completes the side.
Despite his youth, Chisnall has been a member of Tasman's senior representative side since 2009, the same year he won the national under-15 title at the North Shore Golf Club.
For Riordan in particular, Trans-Tasman selection has provided some endorsement of his consistent form over the past year, having also finished unbeaten at last year's Toro men's interprovincial event. However, he had never taken his final selection for granted.
"I was unsure [about selection] because there's three [players] sort of guaranteed and another three of us that are pretty close," said Riordan of his international callup.
"But one of them [Sam An] was able to play in the junior Trans-Tasman, so that worked out quite well for New Zealand Golf I think; they got the best of both with that."
He agreed that beating Campbell probably helped his cause and, along with his Nelson-based coach Glyn Delany, is constantly fine-tuning his game.
"We've been working on some good stuff and making some good progress.
"There's certainly improvements to be made and stuff like but ... there's a lot of learning going on and being involved with a lot of those top guys who've been there for a year or two, you learn so much off them just listening to them and having conversations with them.
"It's a matter of taking it all in, or taking some of it in."
Riordan will continue his Trans-Tasman buildup by competing with his Tasman team-mate Hamish Campbell at the New Zealand foursomes at Mt Maunganui on February 10 followed by the Grant Clements Memorial 72-hole strokeplay event and the prestigious Riversdale Cup in Melbourne from February 16-19.
Meanwhile, world No1 amateur Lydia Ko heads the New Zealand women's team and is joined by Emily Perry and Chantelle Cassidy, while Waikato rep Sarah Bradley makes a return to international duty.
Wellington No1 Julianne Alvarez, who made her international debut last year at the Astor Trophy, will lead the junior women's team with team-mates Catherine Bell, Laura Hoskin and Wenyung Keh, who won the North Island under-19s and also went undefeated at last year's Toro women's interprovincial.
Once an annual event, the Trans-Tasman Cup is now played bi-annually and is made up of four categories of four players each.
The boys contest the Clare Higson Trophy and the girls compete for the Junior Tasman Cup. The open men battle for the Sloan Morpeth Trophy and the open women for the Tasman Cup. Each play foursomes and singles scratch match play over two rounds.
This will be the fifth staging of the Trans-Tasman Cup and New Zealand is yet to have its name engraved in the silverware, with Australia winning the first four events since it began in 2007.
New Zealand teams to contest the Trans-Tasman Trophy: Men: Ben Campbell (Masterton), Mathew Perry (Hamilton), Vaughan McCall (Gore), Blair Riordan (Takaka); Under-19s: Sam An (Titirangi), Ryan Chisnall (Greenacres), Tyler Hodge (Levin), Compton Pikari (Te Awamutu); Women: Lydia Ko (North Shore), Emily Perry (Lochiel), Chantelle Cassidy (Tokoroa), Sarah Bradley (Cambridge). Under-19s: Julianne Alvarez (Manor Park), Catherine Bell (Ashburton), Laura Hoskin (Arrowtown), Wenyung Keh (Pakuranga).