Alabama’s Davis Riley Falls in Finals of 2018 Western Amateur
Alabama senior golfer Davis Riley nearly pulled off a dramatic comeback in the finals of the 116th Western Amateur at Sunset Ridge Country Club on Saturday, but ultimately fell to Texas golfer Cole Hamel, 1-up, on Saturday afternoon.
Riley reached the finals of the prestigious event for the second time in three years after he won two matches in convincing fashion on Friday afternoon, defeating Min Woo Lee, of Perth, Australia, 4 and 3 in the round of 16 before taking down Hayden Springer, of Trophy Club, Texas, 5 and 3 in the quarterfinals. He then advanced to the finals with a 4 and 2 win on Saturday morning over Georgia Tech’s Tyler Stafaci.
Hammer took the lead with a birdie at No. 3 and carried a 4-up advantage into the back nine. However, Riley won his first hole at No. 11 with a par to begin his comeback. The Hattiesburg, Miss., native would have four birdies in the six-hole stretch to cut the lead to 1-down heading into the 17th hole.
On the par 3 17th, Riley hit his tee shot to within 10 feet, but his match-tying effort slid past the hole. The match ended when the two tied with pars on No. 18.
Despite being down by as many as four holes on the first nine and three with four to play, Riley never counted himself out Saturday.
“I had faith in what I was doing,” Riley said. “I stayed patient, and I was good enough to make a charge. I knew I could do it. I hit some good shots and made some birdies.”
This past season, Riley earned All-America third team honors for the second time in his career (2016) after helping lead the Crimson Tide to a runner-up finish at the 2018 NCAA Championships last May.
Riley will next compete in the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif., on Aug. 13-19.