Men's golf finishes second at Olympia Fields Country Club/Fighting Illini InvitationalBy James Ogletree | 09/18/2017 1:50pm
Courtesy of Alabama Athletics
Alabama golfer Davis Riley shot a career-low and tournament record 10-under par 200 as he claimed his first college win at the Olympia Fields Country Club/Fighting Illini Invitational on Sunday.
As a team, the 19th-ranked Crimson Tide finished in second place with a total of 6-over par 846 (280-280-286), three shots behind No. 16 Texas A&M.
Riley opened with a 66 on Friday that tied his career-low round and included five birdies on his first seven holes. He followed it up with a 67 on Saturday, shooting 30 on the back nine to take a one-stroke into Sunday.
He quickly distanced himself from the rest of the field with four straight birdies Sunday morning and then coasted to the finish line, winning by three over Illinois’ Nick Hardy.
"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 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."
Riley said one of the keys to his win was having Seawell by his side for the final 36 holes.
"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."
On the team side, Alabama shot an even-par 280 to share the first-round lead with No. 1 Oklahoma State and No. 4 Baylor. Another 280 the following day gave the Crimson Tide a three-stroke lead over Baylor heading into Sunday’s final round.
Excluding Riley’s 2-under par 34, the other four Alabama players shot a collective 12-over par on the front nine, allowing the sixteenth-ranked Aggies to take charge with a 271, the lowest round of the tournament by nine shots.
Senior Jonathan Hardee earned the fourth top-10 finish of his career and first this season, tying for ninth place with an even-par 210 (69-68-73). He was four shots behind Riley in a tie for fifth entering the final round.
Freshman Davis Shore tied for 30th overall in his second career tournament with a 218 (72-73-73). Senior Lee Hodges tied for 39th with a 219 (73-73-73), and sophomore Josh Sedeno rounded out the Crimson Tide with a 220 (73-77-70) and a T45 finish.
Alabama’s next tournament will be the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, which it hosts on Oct. 9-10 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."