TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – She cannot deny it. The opportunity to play a round of golf at the Augusta National Golf Club changed her.
“I think I will forever be annoying to watch the Masters with,” Kiira Riihijarvi stated with a smile, “because I am going to be like, ‘Ohh, that is a difficult spot,” or ‘Ohh, that is not too bad.’”
Riihijarvi had that opportunity because she is one of the top amateur golfers in the world.
“It was such an amazing week,” she said, “because they do everything really well there.”
The University of Tampa student athlete competed in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. The golfers who qualified for the final round played at the Augusta National Golf Club. Riihijarvi earned a spot after sinking a putt on the 18th hole.
“I was not quite sure if I had to make that putt,” she said, “but I was pretty sure because my caddie was telling me like, ‘Envision it going in. See the line. Give it a good stroke,’ and I was like, ‘I think something is up so I have to make it,’ and, then, I did and it was really cool.”
Riihijarvi said that, that was one of her goals entering the tournament, advancing to the final round. She had seen the course on television while watching the Masters but she had never played there.
“When I actually got to the golf course, it is so pretty and TV does not do it justice,” she gushed. “With the elevation that they have, like, there are a lot of hills and then the greens are just something I have never seen in my life. They are so quick but then they are still fair, which is nice. If you get it in the right spots, you’re fine but if you get it in the wrong spots, you’re definitely not fine.”
She openly admitted that her performance fell into that second category.
Riihijarvi finished tied for 28th place in the tournament. Regardless, she could not be more thrilled to have experienced that tournament on that course.
“It is probably one of the greatest experiences of my life, just amazing,” she said, “and I hope that young girls who are playing competitive golf will put this on their vision boards and try to get there because it is just so great.”