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Riley, Buckley make history as third-ever Mississippi pair to play in PGA Championship

Davis Riley and Hayden Buckley (Photos from Facebook)

Although neither was successful and one missed the cut, Hayden Buckley and Davis Riley recently made history as the third-ever group of golfers hailing from Mississippi to play in the PGA Championship.

Buckley and Riley joined only two other groups (two players per group) of players who resided in or were raised in Mississippi since the major championship turned to stroke play in 1958, joining Pete Brown and Johnny Pott (1964) as well as Glen Day and Jim Gallagher, Jr. (1994-96).

Rewinding to 1964, the now Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer Brown tied for 33rd while Pott missed the cut, but arguably the biggest storyline of the entire tournament was Brown becoming the first-ever African American to play in the PGA Championship after becoming the first to win at the 1964 Waco Turner Open. Though Pott missed the cut that year, he would ultimately end his career with three top-20 finishes at the major.

Then, exactly 30 years later, Day and Gallagher emerged as the latest Mississippians to take on the PGA Championship. Day, from Poplarville, finished top 20 while Gallagher missed the cut that year. With both making the cut in 1996, the two became the first pair of Mississippi natives to advance in the tournament. Day finished that year tied for 41st while Gallagher tied for 52nd place.

Bring the clock back to this past weekend with a $15 million purse on the line, and Riley from Hattiesburg posting a decent opening round of 72 (+2) but couldn’t manifest any success in his second round of 75 (+5), missing the cut by two strokes. Tupelo’s Buckley kept composure by opening with a 69(-1) and staying in striking distance during his second round 74 (+4), making the cut by two strokes.

Buckley proceeded to close out the tournament with a near par, posting a 71-70 (+1) and finishing in the top 30, taking home a nice paycheck of $135,000.

Now, the two Mississippians will turn their attention toward the upcoming U.S. Open on June 15-18. While Buckley has already earned a spot in the field, Riley must compete in one of the regionals to cement his spot for the open national championship.

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