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Davis Riley rolls by Scottie Scheffler to win at Colonial

It was set to be a battle on Sunday at Colonial as Davis Riley teed it up with the #1 player in the world, Mr. Scottie Scheffler.

Davis Riley rolls by Scottie Scheffler to win at Colonial

It was set to be a battle on Sunday at Colonial as Davis Riley teed it up with the #1 player in the world, Mr. Scottie Scheffler. Riley had to contend with the hottest golfer on the planet playing alongside him, and Mother Nature had her say. According to my sources at Colonial, the course was a beast after some overnight rain and wind left the fairways as hard as concrete. Even the long hitters were carefully calculating their routes to the greens.


As the resident writer at, I've played my fair share of golf in less-than-ideal conditions. I can tell you from experience that Firm & Fast translates to Frustrating & Punishing more often than not. Still, it was Sunday at a prestigious tour event - these pros are supposed to thrive in pressure situations. All eyes were on Riley as he attempted to close out his first individual title while the competitive juices were surely flowing for Scheffler, eager to snatch yet another W. With high stakes and tough scoring, it set the scene for an epic final round showdown.


Riley may have held the lead starting Sunday, but as my pundit colleagues often say, it's not over till it's over. With a beast of a golf course ready to bite back and Scheffler doggedly pursuing, this was no time for the leader to let protections slip. All in all, Riley had his work cut out for him under the forecasted "grueling" conditions on a track that was now "relentlessly punishing". The major championship-level test had been cranked up a notch come Sunday.


For those who do not often watch the PGA Tour, let me give you a brief overview of Riley's playing partner, Scottie Scheffler. For the past few months, this man had been on fire, ruling winners' circles like Tiger during his heyday.


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He had assumed the #1 ranking and showed no sign of loosening his stranglehold. By all accounts, the ice-cool Texan had the game and mettle to wipe out Riley's buffer with the greatest of ease.

Yet after trading early blows, Riley refused to wilt. After Scheffler pulled within three with a second-hole bogey, Riley delivered the perfect response. His pitch-in birdie from the fringe on the 4th seemed to settle any nerves as it pushed his lead back to a health five shot margin. To seal the deal, he delivered a masterclass in cool, composed golf. Riley was being pursued by Scheffler and the others, but he was making precise plans and finishing on a fantastic even-par. His five-shot triumph demonstrated his intelligence and perseverance in holding off the strong favorite. Riley, after the Colonial coronation, more than met the challenge of defeating the best player in the game before the conclusion of the day.


“Obviously you see the name winners here are incredible guys, people that I’ve looked up to my whole life and watched them winning this tournament when I was growing up,” Riley said. “Yeah, you see that plaque out there right beside 1 tee, seeing all the unreal golfers, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Spieth, unreal golfers and just to etch my name along with those people is pretty special and it will be pretty cool to see my name there.”

While Riley had previously tasted success in 2021 at the Zurich Classic alongside Nick Hardy, this win at Colonial held special significance as his first solo title on the PGA Tour. And it couldn't have come at a better time for the 27-year old from Florida. You see, individually it had been a bumpy couple of seasons for young Riley. After a hot rookie campaign in 2022 where he threatened the season-long leaderboards, '23 and '24 had seen him battle for form and consistency. More missed cuts than top tens recently had many questioning if last year's pairing up was just a one-off. But through determination and tweaks with Coach Jeff, Riley had rediscovered his game just in time to break through for a triumph all his own. This W was undoubtedly sweet relief for a man who proved he's got what it takes when the pressure's really on.


While Riley's rookie season saw glimpses of his potential, flashing six top-10s and reaching the BMW Championship as one of only eight freshmen, the subsequent years had been rough going for the young gun. Without that Zurich Classic triumph alongside Hardy, Riley would have lost his Tour card in 2023 after mustering just one more top-ten amidst 14 missed cuts. And through 2024 so far, it had been more of the same desperate struggles. Entering Colonial week, Riley sat a lowly 150th in the FedEx Cup with a lone top-25 to show - he badly needed something to change.


Enter longtime friend and coach Jeff Smith. Needing a remedy to his erratic ways, Riley made the wise choice to bring back Jeff who had helped groom his technique prior. Together they set to work on simplifying his swing motion. And sometimes in golf, less really is more. Under Jeff's guidance, Riley's game tightened up just in the nick of time. All it took was one week to turn everything around - a solid reminder that fortunes can shift quickly out on the PGA Tour.


This week, whatever Riley and Jeff worked on clearly paid dividends. After charging to a sizeable four shot cushion following 54 holes, Riley was poised to etch his name into history. But nerves can be fickle, even for battle-hardened pros, and the early going saw its share of stumbles with pars and worse on Colonial's opening duo. Always lurking was his playing partner, Scheffler, who just so happened to be the same guy who bested Riley in the finals of the 2013 U.S. Junior. In the past, that matchup would have rattled the younger man. But now, a newly reinvented Riley exuded steadiness throughout the day. Any wobbles failed to derail his control of the proceedings, and by maintaining his composure he was able to see off everyone down the stretch - including his former junior conqueror who was gunning to add to his array of titles in 2024.


Davis Riley takes advantage of lackluster Scottie Scheffler to win by 5 -


He said Saturday night he wanted to flip the script against Scheffler.

“You got the No. 1 player in the world breathing down your neck, not really any shot lead is too comfortable,” Riley said Sunday. “I knew at some point today he was going to make a push and I expected that and, honestly, I tried to treat today as if we both started tied and I just tried to win the day.”


While Riley steamed ahead, Scheffler sprang a leak early on in his quest for victory. The world #1 could only manage par at the gift-wrapped opener before finds began to go wrong. A voyage into the penalty area on 5 led to dropped shots, and locating the short stuff proved elusive for most of the day. By the 6th tee, only two fairways found was a startling tally on such a pivotal Sunday.


Meanwhile, Riley maintained his momentum with clockwork consistency. None in the chasing pack mounted a serious challenge as the lead swelled to a massive seven shots at its peak. He clung on through a couple late stumbles but rediscovered his touch just in time, holing a clutch approach from a divot on the 17th. It set up a five shot procession up the 72nd fairway, capping off an emotional weekend on Tour with a win. Even Scheffler's late birdies could only retrieve second place alongside Bradley, who shot well to merely glimpse Riley's coattails.


The triumph held extra poignancy with the announcement of fellow pro Grayson Murray's sudden passing that Saturday. Players paid tribute to their lost friend and competitor, adding further heaviness to the air already thick with pressure and meaning. It was a weighty weekend that saw Riley rise from the ashes to summit of the leaderboard.


Statistic Davis Riley                   Scottie Scheffler
Final Score -4 (268) -1 (273)
Round 4 Score Even Par (70) -1 (69)
Shots Back N/A 5
Fairways Hit (Round 4) 7/14 2/11
Greens in Regulation (Round 4) 11/18 10/18
Putts (Round 4) 30 30
Birdies (Round 4) 1 2
Bogeys (Round 4) 2 1
Total Birdies (Tournament) 13 16
Total Bogeys (Tournament) 6 8
FedEx Cup Standing (Pre-Tournament)           150th 1st
Official World Golf Ranking 27th 1st




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Sarah has a strong background in sports journalism, with a degree in journalism from a top university in the US. She has covered men's professional golf for over 10 years, attending major tournaments around the world and building an extensive network within the men's golf community. Her writing is known for its in-depth analysis, insider access, and ability to bring the drama and excitement of professional golf to life for readers.

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