Davis Riley is in rarified air.
The Presbyterian Christian junior-to-be advanced to the final round of the 66th U.S. Junior Amateur Championship golf tournament Friday at Martis Camp Club in Truckee, Calif.
For a little perspective, golf legend Jack Nicklaus won every USGA-sanctioned tournament he played in during his career with the exception of the U.S. Junior Amateur. In fact, Nicklaus qualified for the tournament five times and his best finish was a semifinal loss in 1956.
Past winners include Tiger Woods, David Duval, Charles Howell III and Hunter Mahan.
But Riley, 16, said he can’t think about all that.
“I’ve just been trying to focus on my game,” he said in a telephone interview on Friday. “It would certainly be nice to have my name mentioned with all the other great players that have won it, but right now I’m just concentrating on sticking to my game plan and whatever happens, happens.”
The final round, which will be 36 holes of match play, begins at 9 a.m. (CDT). After 18 holes, play will continue at 2 p.m., and it will air live on The Golf Channel.
The tournament began on Monday with two rounds of stroke play. Riley made the cut, finishing fifth by the end of stroke play competition. Since then, it’s been match play, which Riley has slashed through relatively easily.
On Wednesday, he defeated Chase Johnson (Barberton, Ohio). On Thursday, he eliminated Luis Gagne (Costa Rica) and Trevor Phillips (Inman, S.C.). Then, on Friday, he knocked off Zecheng Dou (China) and John Augenstein (Owensboro, Ky.). Riley has dispatched everyone he has faced in match play in less than 18 holes.
“Playing so much golf in such a short period of time hasn’t been as bad as you might think with all the adrenaline going,” Riley said. “I’ve just tried to eat good, drink good and play good golf.”