At the end of his postgame interview, Davis Riley walked away and politely offered a cool line as if he was an decorated fighter pilot in the 1940s.
“See ya tomorrow, boys,” Riley said.
If he was smiling, it was hard to tell amid the sunlight. But he certainly had a bounce in his step after surging into a tie for second place Saturday in the PGA Korn Ferry Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper.
If Riley wins today, it will automatically bump him into the PGA Tour next weekend, as it will mark his third win on the Korn Ferry Tour this year. He already is the Korn Ferry Tour’s points leader and showed his prowess Saturday with a 7-under par 65, boosting him to a 14-under-par 202.
That’s four strokes off the leader, Brandon Wu (18-under par 198), and came on a day when Riley eagled his first hole, No. 1, and proceeded with six birdies within the rest of his round, marred only by a bogey on No. 12.
“I feel like I’ve earned enough points to where you almost play on house money a little bit,” Riley said. “It feels sort of relaxed. Besides Will (Zalatoris), I feel like there are a decent amount of hits and I don’t feel any pressure.”
Overall, it’s an intriguing scenario for the final two groups this morning, as a $117,000 prize awaits the winner.
The last group includes: two golfers (Wu, Daniel Sutton) making their Korn Ferry Tour debuts, and a 39-year-old in Jose de Jesus Rodriguez, a 13-year pro. More than that, Sutton is arguably the biggest Cinderella story of the tournament, considering he “Monday qualified” in his first ever Monday qualifier while Wu, who was thinking he’d have to as late as last weekend, is a former Walker Cup member who helped Stanford University win a national title.
In front of them will be Michael Arnaud (15-under), Brandon Harkins (15-under) and Riley. A Stephen F. Austin standout, Arnaud is a 38-year-old in his 16th pro season. Harkins is 34 and turned pro in 2010.
Chad Ramey, Dan McCarthy and Zecheng Dou are all within five strokes of the lead.
“I feel like if I go play well, I can win, for sure,” Wu said. “It’s definitely nice to have a couple of shots as a cushion, but I’ve just got to focus on my moments.”
Wu played 4-under par 68 in a bogey-free round Saturday. He had only one birdie on the front nine, on No. 5, but three on the back nine, including on No. 18.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez played 6-under-par 66, with five birdies – including three in this final five holes.
Sutton, a native of England who played collegiately at Idaho and Kansas and at one time worked for a cold-weather Minneapolis golf company, carded five birdies and a bogey (No. 3).
Meanwhile, Riley isn’t the only one who could earn a PGA Tour berth today. The other is Zalatoris, also a two-time winner this year. But he’ll have to claw back and, to be honest, need some help from others stumbling under the pressure. He is sitting at 11-under par 205.