June 28, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas - Nothing like winning a professional tournament to make your summer vacation worthwhile. UT Arlington sophomore Riley Fleming did just that, claiming the 2013 Alberta Open with a flurry of late birdies Thursday.
Fleming, 19, won the rain-shortened two-day event shooting 70-68 to go 6-under par at the RedTail Landing golf Club in Edmonton. Fleming, a native of Airdrie, Alberta, is the first amateur to win the Alberta Open in eight years.
"It's my first pro win," Fleming said. "It's my first in home province. I've won two amateur tournaments, and this felt pretty good. I don't know how to put into words. It hasn't really hit me."
Wednesday's second round was suspended due to heavy rains, shortening the tournament to 36 holes. The final round, however, was played under pristine conditions.
"I've never had to play a tournament like that," Fleming said. "It was definitely weird. I've never had a complete day off in the middle of a tournament."
Decked out in UT Arlington gear, Fleming birdied the last three holes and four of the last five on his way to a three-shot victory over low professional Darryl James. The flood of birdies helped overcome a triple-bogey 8 on No. 11.
"Honestly I wasn't thinking about it," Fleming said. "I birdie the par-5 14th. My strength is hitting it long and I got there in two. I just missed a birdie on 15. I drove the green on 16 and two-putted for birdie. At that point my caddie and I thought we needed one more birdie to win it. I was 4-under, but we had no idea where anyone else was. There weren't scoreboards anywhere.
"On 17, I hit it to 25 feet. I hadn't really hit a long putt all week, but I hit this one right in the heart of the hole and my caddie and I started going crazy. No. 18 was playing hard, 470 yards into the wind. I hit a 7-iron to about a foot. I had a really good feeling 6-under was going to win. I didn't want to get excited, but to have a 1-footer to win by three is a pretty nice feeling."
Fleming had a successful freshman season with the Mavericks, placing third on the team in scoring average (74.42) and with five top-20 finishes. Riley's best finish with fifth in the Querencia Cabo Collegiate.
"I feel I'm very close to winning on the college level," Fleming said.
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