[PHOTO: Sam Hodde]

It was more than a decade ago, but Davis Riley was keenly aware of his past with Scottie Scheffler as the pair met up in the final group of the Charles Schwab Challenge. “We’ll see if we can re-write the script a little bit,” Riley said of his chance to avenge a 3&2 loss to a 17-year-old Scheffler in the 36-hole final of the 2013 US Junior Amateur.

Riley didn’t just re-write the script but earned his first solo win on the PGA Tour (he paired with Nick Hardy to win the 2023 Zurich team event in New Orleans). On a blustery Fort Worth afternoon, Riley offset four bogeys with a quartet of birdies that proved to be more than enough as Scheffler stalled and no one else put any significant pressure on him.

A key moment came early at the 209-metre, par-3 fourth. Riley’s lead stood at three after a bogey on the second hole. A 6-iron to 27 feet, however, was followed by a make for birdie and the lead stretched to five when Scheffler bogeyed.

In fact, Riley flipped the script on almost every aspect of his game at Colonial Country Club. Coming into the event Riley was ranked 176th in strokes gained/off the tee; 156th in strokes gained/approach the green and 100th in strokes gained/putting. Riley was top notch in all three at Colonial. He ranked fourth in strokes gained/putting while averaging nearly 100 feet of putts made per round, best in the field. He was fifth in strokes gained//off the tee and second in strokes gained/approach the green.

Riley, who played a blade putter throughout college and on the Korn Ferry Tour, made the switch to a Scotty Cameron by Titleist Phantom X 7.2 tour prototype mallet in early 2022 looking for added stability with the toe flow he prefers.

“The way it looks, all the square lines, I feel like it frames the ball really well and everything sits super square,” Riley said. “I’ve always been a big believer in that putting, if you’re really comfortable looking over and everything feels square, it’s just going to set up for good putting.”

Which set him up for a big week in Texas.

What Davis Riley had in the bag at the 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge:

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Driver: Titleist TSR3 (Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green RDX 65 TX), 9 degrees

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max, 15 degrees

Irons (3): Titleist T200; (4-6): Titleist T100; (7-9): Titleist 620 MB

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM10 (46, 50, 56, 60 degrees)

Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist Phantom X 7.2 tour prototype