Las Vegas, Nevada (July 2, 2011) UPDATE 6 PM PST--Chris Riley, who is near the lead at the AT&T National, is considered a Las Vegas golfer because he played four years at UNLV plus he lived here for several years folllowing his college career. But he grew up the San Diego area, and because of his So. Cal. roots, he got to know Tiger Woods during his younger days plus continued to be friends as they both played the PGA Tour. So it is somewhat fitting that since Tiger isn't playing in his own tournament, a longtime friend has the potential to win the thing. Riley fired a third-round 75.--By Brian Hurlburt
Riley was a 4-time All-American while at UNLV and is both a former champion on the PGA Tour plus a past member of the United States Ryder Cup team. Among his PGA Tour peers, he might be best known as the one of the game's best putters. Recently, Riley has found some of his old magic with another old friend, his putter. "I've been changing clubs the last couple years, and I've putted with the same putter for eight years and then I put it away for two years and then I brought it back out," said Riley, who was in second place entering the third round. "My putter has made putts before, so I'm still teaching it." LIVE SCORING.
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"I putted really good today," said Riley after his second round. "I mean, I putted a little better, but I putted really good the last few days actually. This is one of the good tournaments out here, a Tiger Woods Foundation event, and it's one of them on my list (to make sure I play)." Through two rounds, Riley was the top-ranked player for hitting greens in regulation. Riley is looking for his first PGA Tour win since the 2002 Reno-Tahoe Open. In 2007, he won on the Nationwide Tour.
"I haven't been in this position in a long time, but yeah, I'm sure it is (a test of patience)," said Riley. "I need to just slow everything down and have fun, then go out in one of the last groups and be uncomfortable out there (laughing). I've been playing okay. I shot a couple low rounds at Memorial and then missed the cut last week, and then this week it's coming around. I'm having fun playing, and like I said, everybody actually back home wanted me to try for the U.S. Open, and I said, I've got one in two weeks at Aronimink. This is where I'm at." Quotes courtesy ASAPSports.com. Photo: File from Steve Spatafore. Brian Hurlburt is a credentialed PGA Tour media member.