Nelson Golf Club professional Sean Riordan will make his BMW NZ Open debut after he won the final qualifying event yesterday in cool and blustery conditions at the Russley Golf Club in Christchurch.
The former Srixon Academy member shot a four under par 68 to be one shot better than well-performed New Zealand professionals Troy Ropiha and Anthony Doyle and Australian Daniel Valente.
Canterbury amateur reps Tom Turner (Christchurch) and Harry Bateman (Russley) and South Korean pro Dongwoo Kang were one shot further back with rounds of two under par 70.
Also in the field is Tasman amateur representative Ryan Chisnall who, along with professionals Shaun Hewitt, Sam Burrell (Australia), John Collins (Australia) and Joonsang Chung, shot two-over 74s as the five golfers to secure the final spots in the dusk.
Chisnall's Tasman team-mate, Hamish Campbell, was one of seven alternates.
The trainee professional Riordan, who recently won the Mitsubishi Electric PGA National Futures Championship in New South Wales, is excited to be back playing competitive golf after little time on the course. Riordan, who made five birdies in his opening 13 holes before dropping a shot at the 14th, was pleased to play in his first New Zealand Open after missing the chance four years ago in Queenstown.
"I am very stoked," said the former New Zealand amateur rep.
"I minimised the bogeys out there today and made a few birdies at the start and then held on through the end."
Riordan is not playing a lot of golf because he works about 50 hours a week in the pro shop, with the work required for his traineeship.
He was feeling relieved to make his NZ Open debut after coming up short in the final qualifier at Millbrook to play at The Hills in 2008.
"It was a bit of an eye-opener of what you need to do to make it, so I tried to put that into play here today and it worked.
"It is going to be great.
"There are a lot of people who are coming down from home who want to see me do well and I coach a lot of juniors and they will be watching as well.
"Hopefully, I can play well and make them proud.
"I'd love to finish in the top 10 and I think I am playing well enough to do that.
"It is just keeping my shots down and keeping my head, I guess."
While it was good news for the older Riordan, with his dad on the bag as his caddy, his younger brother, Blair, was not so happy.
The New Zealand amateur rep finished double bogey-bogey to miss the mark.
"It's a shame that Blair dropped a few shots coming home.
"It would have been cool to play the NZ Open with him," said Sean about Blair.
His brother will now caddy for him at Clearwater.
- The Nelson Mail