Riley with 66 shares lead at Sanderson Farms in home state

Sep 29, 2022, 5:08 AM | Updated: 5:12 pm

Davis Riley hits onto the 18th green during the first round of the Sanderson Farms Championship gol...

Davis Riley hits onto the 18th green during the first round of the Sanderson Farms Championship golf tournament in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Davis Riley got off to a hot start and kept bogeys off his card to the end for a 6-under 66 and a share of the lead Thursday with Will Gordon in the Sanderson Farms Championship, the PGA Tour event he considers his fifth major.

Riley grew up about 90 miles away in Hattiesburg and can remember playing the Country Club of Jackson when he was so young he was hitting fairway metals into the par 4s.

He is coming off a strong rookie season, narrowly missing out on the Tour Championship, and would appear to be off to a solid start. Riley wonders if being so open about his affection for the PGA Tour’s lone Mississippi stop has created too big of a burden.

It wasn’t an issue Thursday. He saved par with an 8-foot putt on his first hole, handled the par 5s on the front nine and threw in a pair of 12-foot birdie putts.

“I have so many friends and family here. I want to perform. It just would be a really, really special tournament to win,” Riley said. “I just have to take it day-by-day and treat it like every other tournament. It’s easy to put that added pressure on yourself, but I just think that hinders you from playing your best golf.

“I’m going to take it day-by-day and continue the stress-free golf that I played today.”

On the closing hole, Riley hit a cut from the rough to navigate a tree and came up just short of the green. He pitched to 6 feet and finished off a bogey-free round.

Defending champion Sam Burns opened with a 70 one week after he was part of the U.S. team that won the Presidents Cup.

Gordon did most of his work late in the round. He two-putted for birdie from 20 feet on the par-5 14th, drove to the edge of the reachable par-4 15th for an easy up-and-down and made birdie on the 17th from about 12 feet.

Riley and Gordon were a shot ahead of eight players, a group that included Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa, who went 1-0-1 in his Presidents Cup debut last week.

Fatigue wasn’t too big of an issue from having only played two matches. It was the party Sunday night that about did him in, so Bezuidenhout took off on Monday and trying to carry some momentum into Mississippi.

“You learn a lot playing against the best players in the world, and last week was most of the best players,” he said. “We faced a strong U.S. team last week. Every week that you play against the best players in the world, you can play your game, and that’s the only way you’re going to get better.”

Also at 67 was big-hitting rookie Brandon Matthews, who got married Saturday, and two other rookies in Trevor Cone and Kevin Yu.

Mark Hubbard narrowly missed a 12-footer on his final hole at No. 9 that would have given him a share of the lead.

Burns also played bogey-free, minus a bunch of birdies, none on the par 5s. He missed the fairway on three of the par 5s, and the one fairway he hit, he pulled his approach into a small bush-filled ravine. Burns hacked his way over the green, but at least saved par.

The Sanderson Farms was a good start to his season a year ago. He went on to win twice more, in playoffs at the Valspar Championship over Riley and at Colonial over Scottie Scheffler, and he made his first cup appearance.

“Just couldn’t really get much going out there,” Burns said. “Golf course was playing pretty difficult, but overall not a bad round.”


More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Riley with 66 shares lead at Sanderson Farms in home state