Hitting a longer drive: New LPGA rookie held golf clinic in Central Florida

Golf club set to host golf tournament in late May

HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. – A new rookie on the LPGA Tour stopped by the Mission Inn Resort & Club on Tuesday to impart some of her wisdom to everyday players.

Kiira Riihijärvi recently got her card to be on the LPGA tour. She started out on the Epson Tour, which will have an event at Mission Inn May 26-28.

“It’s just so exciting,” Riihijärvi said, strolling down the fairway with News 6 Sports Director Jamie Seh. “It’s really exciting to see all of the hard work pay off and all of the hours that I spent practicing to really see it that I get to play with the best players in the world.”

Originally from Finland, Riihijärvi moved across the Atlantic to attend the University of Tampa. But she isn’t shy about her game. She can hit it off the tee almost 300 yards, according to her coach.

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“It’s pretty fun,” Riihijärvi said with a smile. “It makes golf sometimes easier, sometimes a little harder but whenever you have it and you can pipe it down the middle, it’s really fun.”

Riihijärvi started playing golf when she was nine years old. Her love and passion for golf has only grown stronger over the years.

“I love so many things about it. I like the competitive aspect. I like the fact that you’re never really ready with it. You’ll never ever going to wake up one day and be like ‘Oh now I’m perfect at golf.’ There’s always something you can practice. There’s always something you can get better at.”

This isn’t Riihijärvi’s first time at Mission Inn. She likes to practice her game here, especially at the driving range to work on her chipping. She spent time Tuesday giving hands-on tips to some golf enthusiasts and going around on the course to provide more tips.

“I love the golf course. I love the facilities. It’s such a fun little place. It’s not too far from Tampa; it’s not too far from Orlando. It’s very secluded; it’s very peaceful. It’s super calm every time I come here.”

Riihijärvi is setting realistic goals for when she starts on the tour. In a five year outlook, she hopes to be in a good spot.

“I hope that I’m still on the LPGA Tour. I hope to have a win under my belt, and I hope to be very happy where I’m at.”

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