Davis Riley and Nick Hardy are first-time winners on the PGA Tour—and they did it together.
The 26-year-old Riley (pictured left) and 27-year-old Davis (right) closed with a bogey-free, eight-under- par 65 in the alternate-shot format to capture the Zurich Classic of New Orleans by two strokes over the Canadian duo of Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, La.
“This is so special to win and to share it with one of my best friends out here on Tour is a dream come true,” said Riley, who teamed with Will Zalatoris to tie for fourth in this event last year. “The progression of playing high school, college golf and playing PGA Tour golf is super special and to share this moment with Nick is pretty cool.
“Alternate shot is completely different than regular golf because you don’t have total control and have to rely on your teammate, but Nick and I both played well. To share it with this guy is so special. This is so surreal and I’m pretty speechless right now.
“It was nerve-wracking, honestly. The first win is always tough.”
Hardy and Riley were three shots behind in a tie for third entering the final round after shooting 63 in four-ball in round three, but after making two early birdies, they birdied five of seven holes through No. 17 to take control.
Riley sank a 33-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the 17th to virtually wrap up the victory, and they recorded a tournament record score of 30-under 258, breaking the mark of 259 set by Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele last year.
“That was such a great putt he made (at No. 17), right in the middle, but he putted great all day,” said Hardy, whose best previous finish on the PGA Tour was a tie for fifth in the 2022 Sanderson Farms Championship. “Davis also hit great iron shots on the 13th and 14th holes to set me up for birdie putts to really get us going. He hit them so well that you could just tell they were good by the sound. You could hear it.
“ … I was really nervous before the start of the round, but I calmed down. I don’t know why I was so nervous, other than it was alternate-shot and we don’t play it that often, but this was for the championship. I think golfers are kind of control freaks and in alternate-shot you don’t have total control. I knew Davis was solid this week, so I just had to play my game.
“We both played well and it’s such a great feeling to win.
Hadwin and Taylor tied the tournament record for alternate-shot of nine-under-par 63 set by Cantlay and Schauffele last year, and finished alone in second by making 10 birdies and a bogey, while Beau Hossler of Rancho Santa Margarita in Southern California and Wyndham Clark were one more back in solo third after posting a 71.
Hossler and Clark were at least tied for the lead after each of the first three rounds.
“Once we got through 14, 15 and we’re still nine-under-par, I actually said to my caddie, ‘I want that record,’” said Hadwin, who sank a 40-foot birdie putt at No. 9. “We had some good looks actually on the last three holes. The putts kind of just didn’t fall like they did the first 15.
“It is what it is, a heck of a round, nine-under, alternate shot. That’s the most amount of birdies we made all the rest week, and we did it alternate shot. I would say we’re in good company.”
The fourth-ranked Cantlay, from La Canada Flintridge and Cal, and, fifth-ranked Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, were close but made a double-bogey 6 on the last hole to cap a 66 and wound up four strokes behind in a tie for fourth with Matthew NeSmith and Taylor Moore, who had a 69, while Sungjae Im of South Korea and Keith Mitchell were one more down in solo sixth after struggling to a 72.
Tom Kim and Si Woo Kim, both of South Korea, totaled 68 and finished seven shots back in a tie for seventh with Sean O’Hair and Brandon Matthews, who had a 71, while Martin Trainer of France and Chad Ramey also shot 71 and were one more behind in a tie for ninth with Vincent Norman of Sweden and Mattias Schwab of Austria, who wound up with a 73.
Eighth-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick and his brother, Alex, struggled to a 74 to tie for 19th.
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