Riley Leads Wallace by One Stroke After Opening Round of the 48th Memorial

Davis Riley shared his first PGA Tour victory with teammate Nick Hardy in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April, and now he’s seeking to win one on his own.

The 26-year-old Riley posted a five-under-par 67 to take a one-stroke lead over Matt Wallace of England after the first round of the 48th Memorial Tournament presented by Workday at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

Many of the top players in the world compete in the Memorial because legendary Jack Nicklaus is the founder and was tournament director for years.

“It’s just a tough golf course, especially in the afternoon because the greens get really firm and bouncy.” said Riley, who lost to Sam Burns in a playoff last year in the Valspar  Championship.  “And the wind was up. I just had a couple up and ins on some par-4s to save par that kind of kept the round going.

“It would be really special (to win Nicklaus’ tournament), just because he’s a guy who I’ve looked up to and one of the best to ever play the game, and to win his tournament would be really special. It’s day one. I got a lot of work to do and hopefully I can find myself with an opportunity to win Sunday, and that would be pretty amazing.

“This is one of the more difficult courses we play all year.”

Riley, who won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour and was in a six-way tie for the lead after the first round of the Memorial last year, heated up at the end of the day this time when he made three of his six birdies on the last four holes after only a single bogey.

Wallace, who claimed his first PGA Tour victory in the Corales Puntacana Championship in March, birdied five of the first nine holes before making the only two bogeys in his 68 on the back nine.

“I played really nice today and the prep has been good this week,” said Wallace, who has 10 other victories around the work in his pro career. “I’ve been playing OK, just not scoring very well over the last few weeks. Today was a really, really good round, probably one of the best rounds in the way I’ve hit it in a long time.

“I’ve probably not scheduled or planned a few things quite right since I won. I probably played a bit too much and have not had enough time to see my coaches. So it’s learning from that. I’ll learn from that and then move on, and we’ll see how it goes over the next couple weeks. But we’ll do a better job and then, hopefully, the consistency will come.

“I’ve had too many missed cuts for how I’ve been playing, but today showed that the game’s there to go out and compete.”

Jordan Spieth, who is ranked 11th, made his lone bogey on the last hole and is in a huge tie for third at 69 with Danny Willett of England, who sank a nine-foot eagle putt on the ninth hole; Adam Hadwin of Canada, who had for birdies in a span of six holes; Mark Hubbard, who collected three birdies on each nine; Shane Lowry of Ireland, who made five straight birdies on his front nine; Austin Eckroat, who sank a five-foot eagle putt at No. 15, and David Lipsky of Los Angeles, who made two birdies down the stretch.

Second-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain, who won the Memorial in 2020, had three birdies on the back nine and is in another big tie for 10th at 70 with Patrick Rodgers of Stanford, who made four birdies on the back; Justin Suh of San Jose and USC, who got into the tie with a late birdie; Wyndham Clark, who birdied three of his first eight holes; Seamus Power of Ireland, who made three straight birdies on the front nine; Adam Scott of Australia, who made a 29-foot eagle putt on the fifth hole, and Sungjae Im of South Korea, who made a two-foot eagle putt at No. 7 after a brilliant approach shot from 260 yards.

Fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos shot 71 and is in a tie for 17th that includes seventh-ranked Victor Hovland of Norway, while third-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland made a triple-bogey 7 on the last hole and is tied for 33rd at 72.

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler struggled to a 74 and is tied for 59th, while eighth-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England is tied for 82nd at 76, fifth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State totaled 77 and is tied for 93rd, and defending champion Billy Horschel is tied for 118th at 84.

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