The Texas swing of the PGA Tour netted another victory for a Texas Native. Andrew Landry, a Texas-born pro who had to play his college golf at Arkansas, landed in the winner’s circle for the first time, after the 54-hole co-leader shot a final round 4-under 68 to reach 17-under for the week.
Landry, who many golf fans remember from his remarkable push out of nowhere at the 2016 U.S. Open, now has a trophy to add to his hype.
With just one Sunday bogey after a birdie-birdie-birdie start, the 30-year-old Landry was out front all day, finishing two strokes ahead of Sean O’Hair and course record-holder Trey Mullinax.
FINAL TOP 10
1 Andrew Landry -17
T2 Trey Mullinax -15
T2 Sean O’Hair -15
4 Jimmy Walker -14
5 Zach Johnson -13
6 Joaquin Niemann -12
7 Ryan Moore -11
T8 Andrew Putnam -10
T8 Kevin Streelman -10
T8 Chris Kirk -10
11 Billy Horschel -9
15 Brandt Snedeker -8
16 Aaron Baddeley -7
16 Grayson Murray -7
20 Chesson Hadley -5
20 Retief Goosen -5
26 Jim Furyk -4
30 Ernie Els -3
30 Brendan Steele -3
30 Kevin Chappell -3
45 Si Woo Kim -1
51 Beau Hossler E
51 Matt Kuchar E
64 Charley Hoffman +2
HOW ANDREW LANDRY WON
Landry, a 30-year-old Texan, has had some close calls this year, notably a playoff loss to World No. 4 Jon Rahm at the CareerBuilder Challenge, but Landry was not going to let the Valero Texas Open get away from him.
Through three rounds, Landry was in prime position, holding the 54-hole lead with two-time tournament winner Zach Johnson, but Landry had played better recently, reaching as high as 9-under last week at last week’s RBC Heritage before struggling down the stretch.
This time, Landry took control of the tournament right away, carding birdies on the first three holes of his final round to take pole position.
After a birdie on the par-4 6th hole, Landry’s lead reached four strokes, meaning anyone catching him would have to make something happen, and nobody did. Landry birdied the 10th hole, bogeyed the 11th, and his lead fell to just one over a red-hot Mullinax, but Landry did what he needed to time and time again, finding a way to par the last seven holes to play the final round at 4-under 68 and reach -17 for the tournament, finishing two shots ahead of Mullinax and O’Hair.
For the week, Landry was phenomenal, finishing first in the field in bogeys while also finishing T2 in birdies. He led the field for the week in strokes gained: approach-the-green, strokes gained: tee-to-green, and greens in regulation. Statistically, it is surprising he did not win by more.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR ANDREW LANDRY
This was not the first the golf world had heard of Andrew Landry. He burst onto the scene at the 2016 U.S. Open when he reached the final Sunday group, before some late struggles placed him well from the front.
Still, he had made a name for himself at Oakmont, and he looked like a player who would have more success in the game. He played well enough on the Web.com Tour last year to gain his 2018 PGA Tour card. He nearly pulled off career win No. 1 back in January when he finished runner-up after a set of playoff holes against Spanish phenom Jon Rahm.
Landry had fallen off the map since that playoff loss, missing the cut in his next four starts before a T42 at last week’s RBC Heritage where he placed much better than the final standing would lead one to think.
Just one week later, he is finally a PGA Tour champion, and will now be given the opportunity to show his best against the world’s best over the next two-plus years.
Another Texas native, Sean O’Hair, has four career birdies, but after not posting a single win since 2011, he was anxious to get back in the winner’s circle. The 35-year-old had the low Sunday round, with a 6-under 66 that ended up being the field’s low score in round 4. Hitting 30 of 36 greens in regulation on the weekend, O’Hair posted a runner-up finish for the fourth consecutive year.
Among those playing their Sunday round just one stroke worse than O’Hair was 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker, who had his best performance in over a year with a 5-under 67 that allowed him to finish in fourth place. The Baylor product has six career wins, but none since that PGA Championship, a drought largely imputed to his struggles with Lyme Disease.
Seven birdies allowed Walker to post his second consecutive weekend 67, and should give him tremendous confidence going forward.
Matching Walker’s 67 was Kevin Streelman, who left TPC San Antonio with his second consecutive top-10 finish. The two-time Tour winner has played great outside the greens this season, and his T8 at the Valero was his fourth top-10 in just 15 starts this season.
Just two strokes short of the lead 54-hole lead, Ryan Moore was considered among the Sunday favorites. The 35-year-old UNLV product was looking for his first victory since 2016, but his chances were torpedoed after a bogey-par-bogey-double bogey stretch to finish out his front nine in round 4.
Moore played the rest of his round bogey-free, but his 2-under back nine was only able to get him to an even-par 72 for Sunday, dropping him into 7th place. Moore should be content with a fourth consecutive top-30 finish, but given his performance over the first three rounds, and a relatively weak field at the Valero, he expected a better result.
Matching Moore’s even-par final round was two-time Valero Texas Open winner Zach Johnson, who made it into the final Sunday grouping, but was unable to pull ahead. With two major championships on his resume, Johnson’s name was a daunting presence to the rest of the field, but with four bogeys to four birdies, he did not play well enough to seriously challenge Landry. The 42-year-old Iowan could not find consistency with his putter on Sunday.
Young University of Texas star Beau Hossler has been phenomenal as of late, but the 23-year-old was unable to make any kind of dent in the Sunday field. Starting the day just barely outside the top 10, Hossler faded quickly with double-bogeys on 1 and 3, and three bogeys over his final four holes meant a Sunday 7-over 79, which dropped him into a tie for 51st. His time is likely coming soon, but he did not put up as much of a fight as he would have liked on Sunday.
THE FUTURE IS NOW
The Valero Texas Open marked the professional golf debut of 19-year-old Chilean star Joaquin Niemann. The six-time winner as an amateur was the No. 1 amateur in the world for the past 48 weeks, the second most all-time time.
He could have finished anywhere in the standings and it would have been considered fine, but Niemann decided to put the PGA Tour on notice. By carding birdies on four of his last five holes, Niemann played his first pro weekend 67-67, which was good enough for a solo-sixth place finish.
Niemann showed veteran prowess with his iron game, finishing 2nd in the field in strokes gained: approach-the-green and third in greens in regulation at TPC San Antonio for the week. The feeling is still that he is unlikely to be paired with Jordan Spieth at the final round of the next two majors, but at the very least, the young star lived up to his early hype.
His message to the rest of the professional golf world was clearly received.
“It’s unbelievable. I cannot believe I’m going to get to go to Augusta National.”
– Andrew Landry