Davis Riley triumphs at Terra Cotta Invitational
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).