Monday Finish: Landry comes up clutch to stop slide
January 20, 2020
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Andrew Landry wins at The American Express
Golf never ceases to remind us that things are never over till they’re over. You can never count your chickens – or birdies if you like – because one minute you can lead by six and are seemingly on your way to an easy win and then you find yourself tied for the lead in the middle of what appears to be an irreversible meltdown. The cool thing about this week’s drama-filled installment on the PGA TOUR at The American Express is that Andrew Landry was able to do something that is usually very tough to do. He turned a momentum shift around when it counted.
Welcome to the Monday Finish.
THREE KEYS TO SUCCESS
1. Landry is a “bulldog.” This is how his caddie described him after the win. And it is hard to argue when you look at the evidence. We are used to birdie barrages in the desert at The American Express so when Landry buried his sixth birdie through 12 holes and pushed his lead out to six shots on Sunday you could be forgiven if you figured the tournament was over. The Texan was looking great and his buffer was clearly one that appeared to be more than enough. But then … well … golf. Three successive bogeys and a charging Abraham Ancer meant that – in what must have felt like the blink of an eye to Landry – the buffer was gone and he sat tied for the lead with three to play. Turning momentum in any sport is very tough – but in golf it can be brutal. Especially when the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta saves you some special nervous moments to finish and you’ve missed seven of eight cuts previously in the season. An island green and a daunting final hole with plenty of water still stood in a collapsing Landry’s way. But he collected himself, returned to his best and finished birdie-birdie to claim PGA TOUR win No. 2. “Let's go get this job done, like, quit messing around,” Landry revealed he told his caddie after the collapse. Easy to say, tough to do. But he made it look easy in the end. Get the low down here.
2. Slight man and small town syndrome. Coming in at 5 feet, 7 inches and weighing just 150 pounds, Landry has long looked up at the majority of his competitors. But being the small guy gave him a chip on his shoulder from a young age. Growing up in the town of Groves in east Texas meant most worshipped football. Not really the sport for a small kid. It just added fuel to his fire. Landry’s path in golf has continued to add weight to the chip on his shoulder. He was brilliant in college, but admittedly could have won a lot more. He had a great shot to win a U.S. Open in 2016 but faltered. He took Jon Rahm down the stretch at The American Express in 2018, forcing a playoff, but ended up losing there also. It all helped him towards his first win at the 2018 Valero Texas Open and helped again to find his game this week when it had seemingly deserted him coming in. He shot 77-76 at the Sony Open in Hawaii but found his mongrel again. His 66-64-65-67 this week is proof that when you try to keep an underdog down, he will claw his way above you by whatever means necessary.
3. Putting lights out. Landry only needed 99 total putts for the entire tournament this week (so too did Sebastian Munoz). They joined Justin Harding, Christian Bezuidenhout and Patrick Reed as players with less than 100 putts this season, but Landry is the first to do so while winning. He had 27 in round one, 24 in round two, an incredible 21 in the third round before finishing with 27 in the final round.
Abraham Ancer and Scottie Scheffler will win on the PGA TOUR soon. Ancer finished with a course-record 63 on the Stadium Course to challenge Landry while Scheffler shared the 54-hole lead and after early-Sunday falters gave himself a chance late with a fightback of his own. They finished second and third, respectively, but clearly are headed for bigger things. The last 18 months or so of Ancer’s career have shown a sensational uptick, including his awesome efforts at The Presidents Cup. Scheffler is the reigning Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year and strong candidate for Rookie of the Year on the PGA TOUR. Ancer moves to 16th, Scheffler 15th in the FedExCup. Read more of their efforts here.
There were five players with holes-in-one this week. Three came from PGA TOUR professionals in Carlos Ortiz, Martin Laird and John Huh and another was from amateur Jimmy Kirchdorfer from the Pro-Am portion. But it was amateur Laurent Hurtubise who stole the show. He nailed his with one arm. You need to check this out.
“It's one of the greatest feelings. This is what we play golf for.” – Andrew Landry after his win.
“I've seen them, but I haven't been a part of them. I don't like being a part of them, either… I don't want to be a part of something like that ever again.” – Andrew Landry on his late collapse.
“Top 10s are great. I feel like I've been playing pretty consistent. Hoping to get a win soon, though.” – Scottie Scheffler after a fourth top-10 this season.
“Seeing the ball go in a lot, making a lot of birdies, obviously, moving forward definitely gives me confidence.” – Abraham Ancer
The Wyndham Rewards Top 10 is a season-long competition that offers a $10 million bonus for the 10 golfers who end the regular season at the Wyndham Championship inside the top 10 in FedExCup points.
The player atop the standings will earn $2 million, with varying payoffs for the others through $500,000 for the 10th place finisher.
Justin Thomas, who won the 2017 FedExCup, remains in pole position despite sitting out this week, while Brendon Todd lurks just 121 points behind.
Winner Andrew Landry moved to 17th in the FedExCup.
Here were the biggest movers from The American Express.
This week/Last week/Player