Andrew Landry: From Pea Patch to PGA TOUR winner
April 22, 2018
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Andrew Landry's Round 4 highlights from Valero
SAN ANTONIO – Andrew Landry’s mother wore a golf shirt Sunday that displayed the 2016 U.S. Open logo. It was an interesting choice, given that her son became the Cinderella story at Oakmont until reality hit in the form of a final-round 78.
But Patricia Landry said there was no hidden meaning to her wardrobe selection. No attempt to exorcise demons from that final day or reanimate good vibes from those first three rounds when Andrew played his way into the last twosome of his only major start.
“I kept the baby last night,” she explained, referring to Andrew’s son Brooks, whom wife Elizabeth gave birth to a month ago. “I got up, took a shower, just put on my clothes, whatever I had. Nothing particular.”
On Sunday, Andrew Landry again found himself in the final group. This time was different. This time, he delivered the winning performance, shooting a 4-under 68 to win the Valero Texas Open by two strokes over Sean O’Hair and Trey Mullinax.
It’s the first PGA TOUR win in 32 starts for Landry, the Texas native who starred in college at Arkansas. On the surface, that doesn’t seem like a lot of starts for a first-time winner, but the road to get to this point has been paved with plenty of heartbreaking moments.
There was the 2009 NCAA Championship, when Landry rallied from 4 down with five holes to play before losing his match when Texas A&M’s Bronson Burgoon nearly holed his approach on the 18th hole.
There was Oakmont, when Landry – then ranked No. 624 in the world -- grabbed the lead with an opening 66, and then told dad Dwain that he was going to win the tournament. For two more rounds, Landry kept his promise … until midnight struck in the final round and he did a free-fall down the leaderboard into a tie for 15th.
Then there was the CareerBuilder Challenge earlier this season, when Landry birdied the 18th to force a playoff with Jon Rahm, only to lose when Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole.
Lots of golfers develop scar tissue. For Landry, those were the learning moments that paid off Sunday at TPC San Antonio.
“I think that all those kinds of things really help every player whenever you get in a situation and you fail and you continue to fail,” Landry said. “You’re learning every single time.
“Oakmont definitely did help me. It helped me on how to control my pace and the way my swing is and how important I walk, how that can lead into my golf swing.”
Landry’s brother Adam has been there every step of the way, and he was among the large contingent of family members who greeted and hugged Andrew on the 18th green. No one, however, was shedding more tears of joy than Adam.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Adam said. “I’ve watched all the trials and tribulations what he’s gone through, the highs and the lows. There was no Plan B for him. There was only this.”
Referring to his brother’s previous heartbreaks, Adam noted, “Stuff like that will cripple people. It’ll make you want to quit, failing back and forth – but he continuously figured out a way to find his way to the top.”
Perhaps hardships are easier to deal with when you’ve learned the game on a hardscrabble environment. The nine-hole Pea Patch course in Landry’s hometown of Port Neches-Groves, Texas, was hardly a country club-type of set-up. But it proved useful in developing the kind of skills that can thrive on Texas courses.
“I learned the bump and run – obviously didn’t show on No. 11,” laughed Landry, referring to his lone bogey when his chip from the rough finished in the fringe.
Landry isn’t the only PGA TOUR pro with a Pea Patch heritage. Chris Stroud also grew up on the course.
“It’s funny that we have two TOUR players that played from a nine-hole goat ranch, seriously,” Andrew said. “It’s pretty amazing that both of us got out … We had good players to play with. It was crazy – you could be on the PGA TOUR and a guy in Crocs could beat you. I’m not lying.”
“It’s where you learn your chipping and your putting,” added Dwain said while waiting for his son to emerge from the scoring trailer.
Dwain was trying to keep calm, just as he did all afternoon, even though he was “pretty nervous.” But you could tell the fatherly pride was wanting to burst out.
“We’ve always had faith in him,” Dwain said. “We knew his day was going to come. We always told him, just patience. When it’s your turn, it’s going to be your turn. He was calm and focused all day.”
He was certainly focused when he started his final round with three birdies to separate from playing partners Mullinax and Zach Johnson. And he was certainly calm on the back nine. After he bogeyed the 11th, he missed two birdie putts inside 5 feet on the 12th and 14th holes that could have given him breathing room.
Holding a one-stroke lead over Mullinax for most of the back nine, he never panicked. It was Mullinax, also seeking his first TOUR win, who finally flinched with a bogey at 17.
As Andrew walked up the 18th fairway, his brother began to cry. Mom and dad were hugging. Elizabeth was holding the baby – and trying to hold it all together. Their home is just an hour away in Austin. Getting his first win in Texas seems appropriate.
“I tell him all the time – his relentless pursuit of his dream is truly inspiring,” Adam Landry said. “This is just the fruits of all that labor.
“I’m very proud of him. Proud to call him my brother – but more important, proud for what he stands for and who he is. He’s a good man.”
And now he’s a TOUR winner. Expect Patricia Landry to wear a Valero Texas Open shirt sometime in the future.
Andrew Landry's news conference after winning Valero