Sam Ryder’s close call at Torrey ‘only going to feed me’
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54-hole leader closes in 3-over 75, finishes T4 at Farmers Insurance Open
Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin
Sam Ryder's 189-yard dart to 3 feet and birdie at Farmers
LA JOLLA, Calif. – Sam Ryder felt “new pressure” in Saturday’s final round of the Farmers Insurance Open.
He welcomed it. Ryder assumed his first career 54-hole lead on TOUR at Torrey Pines, with a spot in Saturday’s final grouping alongside prolific TOUR winners Jon Rahm and Tony Finau.
The sixth-year TOUR pro remained steady for most of Saturday, leading up until a double bogey on the par-4 15th hole. Ryder settled for a final-round 75 and a tie for fourth place at 9 under, four strokes back of winner Max Homa.
With his mom Kelly in attendance, having flown from Orlando to San Diego on Friday, Ryder strung quality shots throughout the day on a demanding Torrey South setup; he played the first 14 holes Saturday in even par. He fell victim to the brutish par-4 15th, as his tee shot missed the fairway right and settled in a nasty lie in thick rough. He hacked out to 53 yards short of the green, but he was short-sided and missed the green long with his mid-range wedge. He chipped to 7 feet and the putt burned the edge. Homa had just made birdie on the par-3 16th, suddenly flipping a one-shot deficit to a two-shot advantage.
It wasn’t the ideal final few holes – Ryder finished par-bogey-par – but he remained optimistic in his post-round comments. He graciously met the media and expressed confidence that he belongs in this position and will return accordingly.
“There was definitely a lot of new pressure, but it was fun,” Ryder said in the Saturday twilight on the Pacific coastline. “I was trying to just enjoy it. It was a good experience for me, and I think it’s only going to feed me. My attitude was that no matter what happens, there are going to be positives to take away.
“It’s hard to swallow right now, but that’s what I’m telling myself. I’ll be able to build on that. And I really feel like playing with some of the best players in the world, I hit a lot of really good shots.”
This marks Ryder’s ninth career top-five finish on TOUR, as he moves to No. 53 on the FedExCup. The Stetson alum has advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs in each of his five seasons as a TOUR member, and he’s on track to do so again. The 33-year-old has proven himself time and again as a savvy TOUR pro.
This was a new experience, going head-to-head in the final group at a historic venue against two players who had recorded a combined six TOUR titles in the past nine months – including Rahm’s wins in back-to-back starts earlier this month.
On paper, it’s a T4 finish, but the experience could prove intangibly more valuable as he moves forward.
“It just as easily in my opinion could have gone the other way and I could have pulled a couple shots off and made a couple more putts, and it could have been a completely different storyline at the end there,” Ryder said. “But it happens fast. It is what it is. Going to have to just keep plugging and try to put myself in that position again.”
Kevin Prise is an associate editor for PGATOUR.COM. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.