Riley Shares Lead With Gordon at 66 in the Sanderson Farms Championship

Davis Riley is playing close to where he grew up and has made himself right at home.

The 25-year-old Riley (pictured), who barely missed the Tour Championship last season as a rookie, carded a bogey-free 66 and is tied for the lead with Will Gordon after one round of the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson in Jackson, Miss.

This is the second event of the 2022-23 PGA Tour season.

“I have so many friends and family here,” said Riley, who grew up about 90 miles away in Hattiesburg, Miss. “I want to perform. It just would be a really, really special tournament to win this tournament. 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.

“I didn’t hit my driver the best today, but I was able to get the ball on the greens from difficult spots and made some putts. I was just very stress-free on the greens all day. I have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder from missing the Tour Championship and I think that will help me moving forward.

“It would be amazing to get my first win his in front of family and friends, but I just want to keep playing well and have a chance on Sunday.”

Riley, who won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020 and missed the 2022 Tour Championship by six spots in the FedEx Cup standings, made four birdies on the first seven holes and added two more on Nos. 15 and 16 in his 66.

Gordon, whose only pro victory came in the Albertsons Boise Open earlier this year on the Korn Ferry Tour, equaled Riley’s 66 by making four birdies on the back nine after three on the front against his lone bogey at No 4.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa, coming off a 1-0-1 record in the Presidents Cup for the International Team last week, birdied four of the first six holes and two of the last four in a 67 and is in a big tie for third with Andrew Putnam of Pepperdine, who made four birdies on the back nine; Brandon Matthews, who sank a 15-foot eagle putt on No. 15 and had birdies his last two holes; Kevin Yu of Taiwan, who collected seven birdies; , Mark Hubbard, who had five of his birdies on the back nine; Thomas Detry of Belgium, who had three birdies on each nine, and Trevor Cone, who made a five-foot eagle putt on the fifth hole and added four straight birdies on the back nine through No. 16.

“It was an honor to play on that (Presidents Cup) team and it’s given me confidence moving forward after playing against some of the best players in the world,” said Bezuidenhout, who has won seven times as a pro and beat Kevin Kisner in President Cup singles.

“I’ve had a great start on the PGA Tour  and hope to keep it going. This season could bring out my best and hopefully my first win is right around the corner.”   

Brandon Wu of Danville and Stanford made a hole in one with an 8-iron from 182 yards on the fourth hole and is tied for 14th at 69.

“It’s a tough hole with the pin in the back and the greens are hard and fast, so I thought it was going to bounce over the green,” said Wu, who won the 2021 Korn Ferry Tour Championship. “I was just happy to see it go in the hole. It just didn’t sink in right away and I just had a hard time believing it, even when I picked the ball out of the hole.”

Defending champion Sam Burns, who played for the winning United States team in the Presidents Cup last week, is tied for 25th after a 70.

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