Riordan to lead Tasman

WAYNE MARTIN
Last updated 13:00 08/11/2012
Golf STD
Photosport
SOUTHERN CHALLENGE: Blair Riordan will head a six-man Tasman lineup at the Toro tournament at Balmacewan in Dunedin.

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Blair Riordan is finally back in Tasman colours as he prepares to lead the team into next month's Toro interprovincial teams golf tournament in Dunedin.

He's just back from the Asia Pacific Amateur Championships in Thailand where he finished third Kiwi in a share of 23rd at even par 288. That followed a promising showing at the Carrus Open in Tauranga where he eventually finished in a share of fourth after having led the field heading into the final round.

But he returns to the No 1 spot in Tasman's six-man team, including the reserve, for this year's five-day Toro tournament starting at Balmacewen on December 4.

Joining him in a predictable Tasman lineup are Hamish Campbell, Ryan Chisnall, Glen Drummond, Nick Ludbrook and Tom Dasler, with West Coast's Drummond promoted up the order after some impressive individual performances as part of Tasman's eight-man lineups at the recent quadrangular and South Island teams events.

Tasman selector Alistair Palmer said it was a strong team and preferred to name Dasler as his sixth team member, rather than tag him as the reserve.

Palmer said that due to the demanding, physical nature of the Balmacewen course, every player would get an opportunity to compete over the five days.

For Riordan, though, it's a return to some sort of normalcy after a relatively hectic competitive schedule.

Given his lengthy provincial and national representative involvement, Riordan's surprisingly never played at Balmacewen. But he knows all about its tough reputation.

It will be another first for the talented right-hander, having also just played in Asia for the first time in stifling heat and humidity at the Amata Spring Country Club. So he's already accustomed to difficult playing conditions.

"That's the good thing about playing in Thailand, you were having to be physically tested more that anything," said Riordan.

"You were struggling to breathe in 35-degree temperatures, with no wind and just sweating like crazy.

"I don't normally use a glove, but I had to use one because I couldn't hold on to my grip."

It was an "awesome" experience for Riordan who carded rounds of 73, 69, 71 and 75 to finish 15 shots adrift of eventual winner, 14-year-old Chinese player Guan Tianlang. Riordan said it was a phenomenal performance by the pint-sized Guan.

"I think he's about 56kg or something and he couldn't reach four of the par fours in two. To have that sort of short game confidence in yourself and to know your limitations at his age was something else."

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Riordan wasn't involved in either Tasman's third-place finish at the quadrangular or last weekend's fourth-placing at the South Island team event, so is looking forward to heading Tasman's challenge at Balmacewen.

"I think everyone's hitting a little bit of form at the moment. I haven't played there before . . . so I'm pretty excited."

- Nelson

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