Despite one of his 'worst driving weeks' in a while, Davis Riley still in hunt at home event

Despite woes with his driver, Davis Riley is still in the mix for his maiden PGA Tour win at his home event.

The 25-year-old Mississippi native shared the Sanderson Farms Championship's 18-hole lead after an opening bogey-free 66. He followed that up with a 1-under 71 in Round 2; he's only three shots off the lead at 7 under and T-3 following 36 holes.

And Riley knows why he fell a few spots on the leaderboard.

"I drove it terribly today," Riley said after Day 2. "Like yesterday, I didn't drive it great. One of the worst driving weeks I've had so far in a long time. When I've had an opportunity, I've just taken advantage of it.

"So yeah, made a couple solid putts, and I think I had three bogeys today and they were all three-putts. I don't know, I've just kind of gotten lucky a few times with some bad drives, ended up in decent spots and having shots to the greens. If I could just get in the fairway, I'd feel totally fine."

Full-field scores from the Sanderson Farms Championship

The Alabama alum hit five of 14 fairways in each of the first two rounds. Halfway through the tournament, he's T-126 in driving accuracy among the field and 86th in strokes gained: off the tee (-0.308). On Friday, he made par on four of the five holes in which he hit the fairway, with the par-4 eighth (his 17th hole of the round) the lone outlier as he made bogey after reaching the green in two.

Even after his troubles, Riley is bullish about his game going into the weekend.

"(I'm) optimistic because there's a lot of things I'm doing well," he said. "When I have hit the fairway or put myself in a good position, I've taken advantage of it... It's a pretty simple fix, just getting some good start lines and going from there."

If he can rectify his issues with the big stick, Riley -- who last season, as a rookie, had four top-5s and lost in a playoff to Sam Burns at the Valspar Championship -- may notch his first Tour win in front of family and friends at an event he called his "fifth major."

"It would mean the world to have a chance to win this golf tournament," he said. "But like I was saying (after Round 1), there's a lot of work to be done. The game is in a good spot. I didn't score and do things quite as well as I did yesterday, but I'm still doing a lot of things good. I just need to take a tweak or two here or there and get ready to go again tomorrow."