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August 16, 2018

Davis Riley

Pebble Beach, California

Q. We'd like to welcome Davis Riley, who's also advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur today. Davis, this is your fifth Amateur. You've made it to the quarterfinals; along the way you beat Daniel Hillier, who was one of the top seeds. Quite a day. Try to put it into words for us.
DAVIS RILEY: Yeah, this morning with Hillier, it was a pretty stress-free match. I played pretty well this morning, and yeah, this afternoon was definitely a longer afternoon for sure, but yeah, it was just a whirlwind of emotions coming down the playoff holes and stuff. Unfortunately I wasn't able to capitalize on a couple of really good shots I hit in, coming in on 16 and 17 during the regular match. But yeah, I'll take a win any way I can get it.

Q. Just kind of take us through the second playoff hole, kind of what you were thinking at different times and when mason missed that short putt and you got new life, what was your mindset?
DAVIS RILEY: Yeah, so on the tee, I hit a bad drive, and I knew the left side, I went over there in stroke play. It's pretty bare over there, so you can actually pull a decent lie if you get lucky, and he kind of wiped his tee shot in the right bunker. I saw him, and he hit his bunker shot. I wasn't sure if he was trying to get it over or stay short of it. I wasn't sure what he was trying to do there. I saw him hit it in the bunker, so I was like, hey, look, I'm just playing front edge of the green, hit it on the green, worst case it rolls through, back fringe, easy up and in, whatever, par wins the match. I had 202 pin and 180 front, a touch downwind, and my 7-iron is typically 185, 190, so I choked up on it, was just going to try to bunt something, and came out so hot, and it landed right at pin high, and these greens in the afternoon are getting like concrete, especially out of the rough. Just went through. And then when I was in the back weeds, I didn't even know if I could get the ball out, honestly. I saw him make his putt, and I was like, okay, we'll have to hack this out and try to get up-and-down back right of the green, and it came out pretty good. It came out really hot, actually.

And then hit the bunker shot up there, hit a good putt. It just didn't break, and then I got a second life with him missing that putt.

Q. Just talk about was this the most exciting kind of match you've ever been a part of? You've been to two U.S. Junior finals, the Western final last month. Was this kind of the most exciting, most nerve-racking match you've been a part of?
DAVIS RILEY: Yeah, it was very nerve-racking, but I really didn't at any point really feel the nerves, and I think that has a lot to do with last week at the Western, because I was 4-down to Cole through 9, and that was really -- that was really one of my better moments because I kind of kicked myself into gear. I was like, I'm going to fight this thing out and try to get it back to square going into 18. That was my goal. And I ended up winning a couple holes coming in. I actually had a putt on 17 at the Western to get it all square going into the last hole and just barely missed it.

But yeah, it was definitely one of the more nerve-racking matches I've ever had, and I think due to the calmness helped me out today, and a lot of that due to contending at the Western last week.

Q. So along those lines, you have a chance maybe to play Cole Hammer if you both get to the finals. Would you like a rematch?
DAVIS RILEY: Yeah, that would be good. That would be really exciting. Cole is a good friend of mine. He's a great kid. If it turns out that way, that would be very interesting and a good story line, I guess.

Q. Where does Mason's bunker game rank among college golf players?
DAVIS RILEY: From what I've seen, No. 1. Easy. I mean, the guy was -- it almost seemed every other hole he was in a bunker it felt like coming down the stretch. I can think of five off the top of my head without even thinking too hard that he hit within a foot and a half. So there was a couple times where he was kind of short -- like especially on 1. I went over there, of course he was in the front side and I was kind of pin high, but I was like, man, this will be a good shot to get this eight feet by, and he just -- I don't know, he's got something going on good with that bunker game.

Q. How much do you think this spring has matured you?
DAVIS RILEY: Yeah, it was great. Are you talking about the spring college season?

Q. Yeah.
DAVIS RILEY: Yeah, it was great. Obviously I had a good fall, and things were rolling. I felt like I was doing everything right. I didn't -- I had a very average spring, and I had some off-course stuff going on with my mom. She got diagnosed with breast cancer. Not using that as a crutch or anything, but that was definitely always in the back of my head. I'm used to her being there pretty much all the tournaments and stuff like that, and she wasn't able to make hardly any in the spring.

So yeah, it's nice to have her on the road again. She's been traveling pretty much all summer except for I went to San Francisco, Pac Coast or whatever, but other than that, she's been pretty much everywhere, and it's nice to have her and especially my grandmother traveling around, so it's fun. She's like my No. 1 fan out there.

Q. When was the last time your grandmother has seen you play?
DAVIS RILEY: It's been a while.

Q. Is this mom's side or dad's side?
DAVIS RILEY: It's mom's side. I mean, it's been probably junior golf, honestly. It's been four plus years. Yeah, she was able to make it all the way out, and yeah, she's having a good time just trolling around on her scooter.

Q. Does having so much family here, especially your mom, at a place like Pebble Beach, does that make what happened on the third green, winning that match after everything, make it that much sweeter?
DAVIS RILEY: It did, yeah. Just having everybody there, it's been a while since I've had the whole crew come up and hug me at the end of a match or golf rounds, so it's pretty nice to have everybody there. They're rooting really hard for me, and it was just exciting to see them after I had won the match.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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