Las Vegas, Nevada (June 4, 2011)–Chris Riley has been known as one of the best putters on the PGA Tour, but over the last few years some of the magic has diminished. He even changed putters, something that was pretty much unthinkable for him to do. But that all went away during round one of the PGA Tour's The Memorial hosted by Jack Nicklaus. Riley went deep to fire a 66, flashing back to years gone by. –By Hurlburt, quotes via ASAPSports.com.
Riley was just happy to be in the tournament let alone record a round that put him atop the leader board. Unfortunately he followed up round one with a 75 to drop off the pace. But no matter, Riley can build on what he did in the first round. "It was very unexpected," Riley told the media after the first round. I didn't even think I had a chance of getting in here this year, and last week at the Byron Nelson I was playing with Paul Stankowski and he goes I'm 10th alternate next week, and I was kind of thinking about, and I didn't know how you got in here except off the Money List, last year's, so I was really excited. To be able to come back here is a pretty big deal. I really putted good. I made a lot of nice par saves. I made one on 6, my 15th hole, from like 20 feet for par, and on the 1st hole I made about a 15-footer for par. It was just one of those days where everything was going in the hole, and it felt pretty good to see that." Riley went to UNLV and then lived in Las Vegas for several years before moving back to his native San Diego, where he spends a majority of his time.
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"Last week in Texas I was right there going into the last day and I shot 8-over," continued Riley. "It was real windy, but I'm just thinking too much, really. I'm just trying to turn off my head and play golf. If you play well, then I'm just so result oriented right now instead of just doing — and it's easy to do. It's kind of funny, a lot of guys that I came out here with aren't here anymore and as you can see, it's a tough game. For me it's just I'm just thinking too much, and the less I think the better I do, and today I didn't have time to think. The pace of play was so good and I didn't stand around and think about shots, I just played golf."
Riley also discussed his putter change and his return to his old putter. "I just put my old putter back in the bag," said Riley. "It's been two years. It hasn't been good, but it was good today. Why did I take it out? Because I've been watching everybody else changing putters and putting cross-handed and belly putter, so I thought maybe I should change. … Changing a putter was a big deal to me, because I guess you could say I'm kind of old school. I don't really change much. I hit the same irons. So for me to change something I really have to believe in it."