PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Close calls pain Andrade in quest for first win since 2015
Hosting his 10th East Lake invitational for charity this weekend
October 04, 2019
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- October 04, 2019
- Billy Andrade and his First Tee of Metro Atlanta partner at PURE Insurance Championship Anthony Ford.
Billy Andrade greatly enjoys being charitable … except when it comes to Sundays on the job.
He has been a driving force behind two events that have raised millions for charity – the CVS Health Charity Classic in his native Rhode Island, which has been around for 21 years, and the East Lake Invitational in Atlanta, where Andrade makes his home. That event is celebrating its 10th anniversary this weekend, and it has a star-studded field including actor Bill Murray, Basketball Hall of Famers Charles Barkley and George Gervin, and Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerome Bettis and Ed Reed.
“It’s easy to get people to come and play because it’s East Lake,” Andrade said this week. “That’s all you have to say. It’s the home of the TOUR Championship. It’s an unbelievable golf course and facility and I’m happy to be part of this as we reach 10 years.”
What Andrade isn’t too happy about is the fact he has yet to win this year. Yes, he has been too charitable down the stretch. He was right there at the most recent event on PGA TOUR Champions, the PURE Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach. Andrade was in the final group, but eventually lost to Kirk Triplett in a playoff after leading by two with six holes to play.
“It’s four or five days later and to be honest I’m still pissed,” Andrade said. “But you know, I think that’s OK. That’s probably a good thing. I’ve been close a few times this year and just haven’t gotten it to go my way. I keep putting myself in position, but I just haven’t come up with that big putt or great shot at the right time.
“I had opportunities on the back nine (at Pebble Beach). I made a couple of bogeys there or I could have been in a different situation. It would have been nice to add my name to the list of great players who’ve won events at Pebble Beach. Besides, Kirk has won enough there.”
True enough. It was Triplett’s third PGA TOUR Champions victory at Pebble Beach. Andrade hasn’t won since 2015, the year in which he racked up all three of his PGA TOUR Champions victories and finished a career-best fourth in the Schwab Cup race.
But he has been oh so close a few times this year.
“In Mississippi (at the Rapiscan Systems Classic), that one really stung,” Andrade said. “I made some mistakes down the stretch and you can’t do that when you’re in that position.”
Andrade took the lead at the Rapiscan with a birdie on No. 15, but he bogeyed Nos. 16 and 18 to miss a playoff with Kevin Sutherland and Scott Parel by a stroke.
Andrade, 55, has been a force all year. He has nine top-10 finishes, including three seconds and a third. He ranks 10th In the Charles Schwab Cup rankings, one spot ahead of Sutherland, who has won twice. And Andrade made the cut at all five majors with two top 10s.
“Everyone keeps saying to me, ‘You’re having such a great year,’” Andrade said. “But I’m like, ‘No, it’s a good year. You have to get a win if you want to call it a great year’
“My game is fine. There are always things you can do better. I’ve played pretty well all year, but we’re out here to win. We’re all trying to get into that top five ahead of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. I don’t know what it would take for me to get there, at least one win, maybe two. That would be a nice way to finish the year.”
His best shot might be at the upcoming SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, North Carolina. In five starts there, Andrade has four top 20s.