06 Mar 2024 | Amateur golf |

Riversdale Cup: Yarra duo aim high

by Martin Blake

Phoenix Campbell image
Phoenix Campbell has already had a stellar amateur career. Photo: Gregg Porteous

Yarra Yarra duo Phoenix Campbell and Amelia Harris are out to repeat history when the storied Riversdale Cup begins on Thursday in Melbourne.

Campbell and Harris won the respective men’s and women’s events last year – the first time two Yarra players had won in the same year at one of the most prestigious amateur events in Australia.

But they may not be done yet.

Both Campbell, 22, and 15-year-old Harris are back in the field this week with eyes on the prize.

In January both were runners-up at the adidas Australian Amateur at Yarra Yarra, and the winners of those tournaments are not in the field this week.

“That would be nice. Can’t think too far ahead, but come Sunday that would be quite a lovely outcome.”

Campbell is already effectively living the life of a professional golfer, having won the Queensland PGA Championship on the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia over the summer and earned starts in various other pro tournaments.

As a tournament winner he can turn professional at his discretion, but he has chosen to remain as an amateur so that he can complete that phase of his career overseas in 2024.

Trips planned include The R&A Amateur Championship, the St Andrews Links Trophy, the European Amateur, and while he is in the UK he plans on trying to qualify for the Open Championship.

“It’s been a good opportunity for me the last 12 months,” he said this week. “I’ve had playing opportunities week-in, week-out, and I just want to keep building on it. I’ve learned a lot and started to put some results on the board, which is good.

“Every day I’m trying to get a little bit better. The results have just happened as a result of the process. I’m gradually getting better and the next 12 months, hopefully I get some more opportunities.”

Campbell will be the favourite this week but he will expect strong opposition from the likes of Billy Dowling (Surfers Paradise), Connor McDade (Royal Melbourne) and Kai Komulainen (Emerald Lakes) to name but a handful.

As for the teenager Harris, she is establishing herself as one of the most gifted young women to emerge on the Australian golf scene for some years.

Her main opposition this week could come from Royal Adelaide’s Caitlin Peirce, Perth’s 2022 champion Abbie Teasdale and Bendigo’s Jazy Roberts, all Australian representatives already, and the New South Wales Strokeplay champion Rachel Lee.

Nine of the top 12 ranked women in Australia are in the field.

The Riversdale Cup is 72 holes strokeplay with 162 players from around the world teeing it up at the beautiful south-eastern Melbourne golf course.

The men’s and women’s events are complemented by the Riversdale All Abilities Championship which will include Wayne Perske and Cameron Pollard among the big guns.

Play is from 7.23am Thursday and continues each day with the final round on Sunday.

Entry is free.

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