The Copperhead course can be a tough one to tame, even for the wiliest of PGA Tour veterans.
Davis Riley nearly won here on his first attempt. Last season as a rookie, he opened the Valspar Championship in 65-68 and surged into a one-shot lead going into Sunday thanks to a 9-under 62 on Saturday that came up one shy of matching the course record.
“I feel really comfortable with the putter on these greens and if you just get me on the greens I have a chance,” Riley was transcribed by ASAP Sports after shooting 62.
Riley led for a good while in the final round and posted a respectable 72, but ultimately he was caught in regulation and overtaken in the second sudden-death playoff hole by Sam Burns.
That wasn’t just a blip on the radar for the former Alabama Crimson Tide. He was in the Rookie of the Year mix in 2022-23 against a strong field of candidates thanks to five top-10s.
Current form shows a missed cut last week at the Players Championship. That could be a blessing in disguise to give him time off after playing well earlier on in the Florida swing.
The Mississippian is comfortable in the southeastern United States playing on Bermuda. Riley took T-29th at the Honda Classic and T-8th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The 26-year-old ranks seventh on the PGA Tour in proximity from the rough (39’9”), which can help on a course that’s not always easy to hit fairways.
Riley is also 29th in strokes gained per round on approach (.568).