Alabama’s Davis Riley Wins First Career Medalist Honor
Alabama junior Davis Riley collected a career-low 54-hole score of 10-under par 200 as he cruised to the individual title at the Olympia Fields Country Club/Fighting Illini Invitational on Sunday afternoon. As a team, the 19th-ranked Crimson Tide finished in second overall with a three-day total of 6-over par 846 (280-280-286).
“I am really proud of Davis because he’s worked extremely hard and it’s a great accomplishment to win here at Olympia Fields,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. “He put our team on his back most of the tournament and it gave us a chance to win. I am proud of the way we played. We just didn’t play well enough to keep up with (tournament champion) Texas A&M today. We will learn from this experience, practice and get better.”
Riley led the field with 18 total birdies over the three rounds on his way to setting a tournament record, topping the 7-under par 203 set by former Oklahoma State golfer and current PGA star Rickie Fowler in 2007. Riley led the field in par 4s average (3.83, -6) and ranked second in par 3 scoring (2.83, -2). As a result, he collected his first career collegiate medalist honor and recorded the fifth-lowest 54-hole total in program history.
“It feels really good,” Riley said. “I had coach (Seawell) walk with me the final two days and he was able to help me stay calm and I helped him stay calm. We had a great time and I give a lot of credit to coach for helping me relax.
“My irons were great this week and I was able to give myself a bunch of good looks,” Riley continued. “This is the kind of course that you have to drive the ball really straight so ball-striking was a big key for me this week.”
Riley held a one stroke lead heading into Sunday’s final round of play. After recording par on the first hole of the day, the Hattiesburg, Miss., native made four consecutive birdies to take control of the individual race. From there, Riley added two more birdies and three bogeys to his round and finished the day at 3-under par 67. After opening the event with a 66, followed by a 67 in round two, Riley has now recorded five consecutive rounds in the 60s.
Riley won the event by three strokes over Nick Hardy from Illinois (203), while UNLV’s Shintaro Ban (204) finished in third.
In addition to Riley’s result, senior Jonathan Hardee also played well as he collected the fourth top-10 finish of his career – and first this season – when he tied for ninth overall with an even par 210 (69-68-73).
Freshman Davis Shore tied for 30th overall with a 218 (72-73-73) on the par-70, 7,353-yard Olympia Fields Country Club North Course. Senior Lee Hodges tied for 39th with a 219 (73-73-73), while sophomore Josh Sedeno was a stroke back in 45th with a 220 (73-77-70).
Texas A&M, ranked No. 6 in the nation, carded a team score of 9-under par on Sunday’s final 18 holes to claim the team championship with a 3-under par 837 (281-285-271). Top-ranked Oklahoma State placed third, four strokes behind the Crimson Tide, with an 850. Baylor, ranked No. 4 in the nation, placed fourth with an 852, while tournament host No. 5 Illinois came in fifth at 853. In all, the 15-team field featured 11 teams which were ranked in the preseason Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Top-25 Poll, including five teams in the top 10 and 10 in the top 20.
Alabama will next compete on Oct. 9-10 when it hosts the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate at Old Overton Golf Course in Vestavia Hills, Ala. Admission to the event will be free to the public.
“We have the Jerry Pate coming up in about three weeks, so that will give us some time to get back and work on things that we’ve learned over the last two weeks,” Seawell said. “We need that practice time. We will get that started early this week and we are looking forward to getting back to work as we prepare for a tournament that is very special to us.”