Alabama Crimson Tide: Triple kept Davis Riley from being a PGA tour winner

Davis Riley shakes hands with Justin Thomas Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Davis Riley shakes hands with Justin Thomas Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

It is extremely hard to win on the PGA Tour. In recent seasons former Alabama Crimson Tide golfers not named Justin Thomas have found out just how hard it is to win a PGA Tour tournament.

Davis Riley came close on Sunday in Palm Harbor, FL, finishing one shot back of the winner, Sam Burns on a second playoff hole.

Riley turned professional in 2019. His 2019 PGA Tour season was one event. He made the cut at the AT&T Byron Nelson and pocketed $50, 231 from four solid rounds. In 2020, he won two events on the Korn Ferry Tour and made two cuts on the PGA Tour. He also missed eight cuts during the 2020 Korn Ferry season.

In Riley’s 2021 PGA Tour season, his highest finish was 39th at the Puerto Rico Open. He missed the cut in the US Open, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AM and the Baracuda Championship.

His 2022 season began with two missed cuts. At the Shriner’s Children’s Open, Riley finished 56th. In late October, in Bermuda, he had his best PGA Tour finish; a 7th in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship.  From November through early March, Riley played in nine PGA Tour events and missed the cut in four of them. His best finish in the run was 20th in the Sony Open in Hawaii, earning him $79,018.

Leading up to the Valspar event, he missed the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a second-round, 80. Like most young golfing professionals, his two and half years of professional golf has produced more ‘downs’ than ‘ups.’

At the Valspar, all that changed and it came close to changing into Riley being a PGA Tour winner. In a sensational Saturday round, while paired with fellow Alabama Crimson Tide alim, Justin Thomas, Riley shot 62 and took the tournament lead. Some of his Saturday magic can be seen below.

When Sunday play began at the Valspar, Riley had a two-shot lead. Thomas was three back, after a third-round, 66.

Thomas would end up in a tie for third. Davis Riley would have won the tournament except for a disastrous triple bogey on the Par 5, 5th hole. His tee shot found the rough off the 6th fairway. What happened the rest of the was can be seen below.

Golfers at every level from beginning amateur to seasoned professional can identify with what happened to Davis Riley. The young man is to be commended for battling hard the rest of the way. His second-place finish will burn, but it will hopefully signal Riley can make it on the PGA Tour.

Note: Riley’s PGA and Korn Ferry stats courtesy of ESPN and the PGA Tour.

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Riley’s second-place finish came with a payday of $850,200, making that triple bogey hurt far less.