Davis Riley triumphs at Terra Cotta Invitational

Davis Riley won the Terra Cotta Invitational by one stroke in Naples, Fla.
Davis Riley won the Terra Cotta Invitational by one stroke in Naples, Fla. ( Tracy Wilcox )

Sunday, April 6, 2014

When Davis Riley hit his 7-iron on the 182-yard par 3 third hole, he thought he'd struck gold.

"I saw it land and saw it rolling and it went just past the edge to about 2 feet past the hole," Riley said. "It kind of got me there, thinking I had a hole-in-one."

That was the story of the weekend for Riley at the Terra Cotta Invitational in Naples, Fla. – not missed opportunities, but greens in regulation.

Riley, the No. 10 junior in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, cited his ballstriking as the key to a one-stroke victory at the par-72, 7,068-yard Naples National Golf Club. He joined the likes of Matt Kuchar, Peter Uihlein and Justin Thomas by winning the tournament.

"I'm really hitting the ball well and giving myself a lot of birdie opportunities," Riley said. "I'm putting the ball well this week. I was getting them up there to 10, 12 or 15 feet and hitting a lot of those."

Riley, a resident of Hattiesburg, Miss., shot a 1-under 71 on Sunday to finish at 4 under for the tournament. Haden Wood and Brad Dalke finished at 3 under.

Riley started the tournament with a 3-under 69, setting the stage for a strong tournament.

"It was more of a ballstriker's golf course, which fit my game really well," Riley said. "It feels good and gives me a lot of confidence going into future tournaments knowing I can play with the best."

Things got close near the end for the Alabama commit. Riley bogeyed two of his final four holes, nearly squandering a three-shot lead. Wood, who was paired with Riley and Dalke, birdied two of his final four holes, but was not able to catch the champ.

Scottie Scheffler, the No. 1 junior in Golfweek's rankings, took fourth place at 1 under and Andreas Halvorsen of Norway finished fifth at even par.

Riley said that he does not have a lot of experience at amateur events but he approaches them in the same way as a junior event. He plans on playing more amateur events this summer.

Notable finishes include: Sam Horsfield (T-8), Cameron Champ (10th), Trey Valentine (T-14), Sam Burns (T-20), Edward Figueroa (T-24), Zachary Bauchou (T-33), Ben Griffin (T-49), Adam Wood (T-55), George Cunningham (T-59) and Andy Zhang (61th).

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