Las Vegas, Nevada (August 5, 2011)–There are more than 30 tour pros who have strong ties to Las Vegas golf courses. And on Thursday, two of them went seriously low in PGA Tour events. One, Adam Scott, had the lead at the Bridgestone Invitational after going 8-under par while another, Chris Riley, was one shot back at the Reno-Tahoe Open after going 6-under par. —By Brian Hurlburt
Both are former PGA Tour champions and each attended UNLV under legendary golf coach Dwaine Knight. But Scott has been more in the news of late due to his hiring of a new caddie, Steve Williams. Williams became his permanent bag man after Tiger Woods fired him. And it was pretty much the topic of conversation at the post-round news conference. And Scott was pleased with their official debut.
"I think he just wants to bring a good energy toward me," Scott told the media about Williams, a fellow Aussie. "I think he believes in my game, that I can be one of the best players in the world. You know, I think he thinks he can help me achieve that, and I believe that, too. So it's just a positive energy and just good motivation. Everything is very positive and confident with Steve so far, and you know, that's hopefully rubbing off on me."
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At the Reno-Tahoe Open being played at the same time as the WGC-Bridgestone, Riley was making a move of his own. Riley, a former Ryder Cup U.S. team member, put together another solid round in Reno, where he is a former champion of the event (2002) and talked about how comfortable he is on the course.
"Might be the state of Nevada," Riley told the media. "I went to UNLV. I don't know. At the International they used to have in Colorado, it was a different format, but it was similar to this where you have really elevated tees and you're hitting down –and I played well there, too. So I don't know. It's weird to think about it, but sometimes you just play well at different courses and in different places. I love the greens and I know what they're going to do. It's just a fun place to come to."
Riley also has shown other flashes of brilliance in 2011. "My results this year haven't been that great," Riley said. "I've had good rounds and my game is really close to playing really good, like I did today. I played well. It's mostly I've just got to get out of my own way and play golf. I know my game is there. The older I get the more I think about it, and that's not a good thing."