Riordan earns shot at big boys

Ebony Riordan
Ebony Riordan is no stranger to golf tournaments, but this week is next level for the former South Australian. Picture: OLIVIA McMILLAN

The first tee of an ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia tournament is a far cry from driving a dump truck in the Kalgoorlie Super Pit.

But local amateur Ebony Riordan is finally comfortable doing both.

The Kalgoorlie Golf Course champion, Riordan earned herself an invite to this week’s TX Civil & Logistics WA PGA Championship on her home course.

It’s a prospect that was terrifying for the 31-year-old, but now tournament week has arrived, Riordan is excited to get into it.

“It’s been daunting right from the start. I was trying to figure out every way to pull out. But the last few weeks I have actually been pretty pumped and I’m excited now,” Riordan said.

“I am probably more relaxed because I’m not expecting to win or anything; it is just a great opportunity.

“It’s also nice for the golf club to have a local playing; they have always been very supportive of my golf.”

An accomplished golfer, Riordan once dreamt of playing professionally before her passion for the game ebbed.

“Golf has always been part of my life. I grew up in a little country town in South Australia; Mum and Dad, my brothers and grandparents all played,” she said.

“I went through all the state and Australian amateur rankings and it was always the plan to turn pro.

“But when I got to about 24, the pressure got to me. People were trying to help me out with sponsorship and it got a bit much.

“I wasn’t enjoying the game any more, so I came over to Kalgoorlie. I drive dump trucks at the Super Pit and I have been in mining for six years.

“Now I love playing more than I ever did, it’s a lot more relaxing.”

This week will require something extra special from Riordan as she plays from the championship tees, the same as the men.

“Off the ladies’ tees I am hitting 8 or 9-irons into all the par-fours and I can reach most of the par-fives in two,” said Riordan, who’s best round at Kalgoorlie was six under off the ladies’ tees, compared to four over off the championship tees.

“This week I will be hitting 4-irons or rescues into all the par-fours. I have played a few rounds off the backs now, so I’ll just see how I go.

“The fifth hole is probably my worst hole, it’s quite long and I will have to hit off the back tees which makes it even longer for me.

“But I love the four finishing holes, I think they are some of the best I have ever seen anywhere.”

Riordan isn’t expecting to win the title, but also won’t be satisfied with finishing at the bottom end of the leaderboard.

“I just don’t want to be dead last after the first two rounds. I would also love to break 80 both rounds,” added Riordan, who joins the likes of Minjee Lee and Hannah Green to have played an ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia tournament as amateurs.

“It does make me feel a bit better to know that no other girl has made the cut in an Aussie tour tournament either.”

The WA PGA Championship will be played from 18-21 May with the professional members of the field vying for a share of a $ 110,000 purse.

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