Davis Riley starts season hotBy Elliott Propes | 09/24/2015 8:12pm
Davis Riley adjusts his posture before a shot off the tee.
Tiger Woods made his 19th appearance in the U.S. Open this summer at Chambers Bay. The legend has won three U.S. Opens in his career and 14 major championships in all. For Davis Riley, it was his first ever major championship. Riley, at just 18 years old, finished eighth in the qualifying tournament just a week before to earn a spot in the championship. Riley shot well his first day with a 73, and actually outplayed the former champion Woods. Riley, who is 21 years younger, finished ahead of Woods by three strokes.
“It was awesome to test the waters and see what it’s like with all the big guys on tour and learn a few things from them,” Riley said. “It’s kind of crazy that I played in a major before I ever stepped foot on a college campus. It was a lot of fun.”
Riley had not even played a round of college golf, but had previously committed to The University of Alabama back in 2012. He was on his way to Tuscaloosa with a ton of experience and he made an immediate impact in his first two tournaments for Alabama. At the Carpet Collegiate Classic, he was Alabama’s top performer and finished seventh overall. Last week, Riley only played better at the OFCC/Illini Invitational. He finished fourth overall for his first ever top-five finish and again was Alabama’s top performer.
“He’s well on his way of doing what we thought he’d be, which is a top, great player,” Seawell said. “We are very pleased with his first two starts.”
Golfweek has Riley currently ranked No. 14 overall of all college golfers. He came in as a highly recruited talent out of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He won state four straight years at Presbyterian Christian High School. His senior season he was named by USA Today the 2014-15 All-USA Boys Golf Player of the Year.
“Any time we recruit somebody and they do some pretty special stuff before they come to Alabama, it makes us feel good because we got the right guys,” coach Jay Seawell said. “As he was growing in high school, we got more and more excited about his time when he would finally get to Alabama.”
Riley is placing high already, and he still has plenty of time to improve during the season. The team has three more tournaments before the spring season. This weekend the team will be traveling to Nashville, Tennessee for the Dick’s Sporting Goods Collegiate Challenge Cup. Six SEC schools and six ACC schools will face off, making it a tough field. Nine of those teams appear in Golfweek’s top 26 teams.
“I think he should be an All-American,” Seawell said. “Robby [Shelton] was the National Freshman of the Year, Justin [Thomas] was the National Freshman of the Year and the National Player of the Year as a freshman. So we challenge him to be the best he can be and we believe if he can do that, that he can accomplish the same thing those guys did.”