After 18 holes at the Country Club of Jackson, a logjam of players sit atop of the leaderboard at the Sanderson Farms Championship.
In all, 17 players are within two shots of the lead in Mississippi. Five are tied for the lead at 6-under 66; four more are one back at 5-under 67; and eight others are two back at 4-under 68.
One of those players at 66 is Andrew Landry, who had a tale of two nines on Thursday.
The 30-year old Texan started his opening round with four straight birdies, followed by an eagle, to quickly get to 6 under after five holes.
“It was fun. It was great to have a couple hole-outs there on the front nine and get myself going,” said Landry, who finished T7 at the Safeway Open three weeks ago.
Landry’s birdie-birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle start tied the record for best score in relation to par to open a PGA Tour event (Brandt Snedeker, 2007 Farmers Insurance Open).
A birdie before the turn had Landry at 7-under 29 through nine holes. But the former Arkansas All-American cooled off dramatically on his inward nine, posting a 1-over 37 with two bogeys and one birdie.
“I was trying to push birdies coming in and I gave myself a bunch of good looks at it the last four holes and didn’t really make anything,” continued Landry.
Ryan Armour, Conrad Shindler, Wyndham Clark, and JJ Spaun are the others at 66, and tied at the top.
Smylie Kaufman headlines the group of four tied at 5 under. The LSU alum, and Alabama native, posted a round of six birdies against just one bogey.
“Been working extremely hard with my coach, Tony Ruggiero, just to kind of try to tighten everything up so it’s consistent round to round,” said Kaufman, who finished outside the FedExCup Top 125 last season. “I had some loose swings out there today, but really just the only mistake I made I grabbed the wrong club on 17.”
Peter Malnati, the 2015 winner in Jackson, is also at 5 under, along with Derek Fathauer, and Brian Stuard.
Chesson Hedley, the 2014 Rookie of the Year, leads a group of eight players bunched at 4-under 68.
Defending champion Cody Gribble struggled in round one, opening with a 3-over 75. Dru Love (71) bettered the score of father, Davis Love III (72), by one stroke.
TOP 10: ROUND 1
1 Ryan Armour -6
1 Andrew Landry -6
1 Conrad Shindler -6
1 J.J. Spaun -6
1 Wyndham Clark -6
5 Smylie Kaufman -5
5 Brian Stuard -5
5 Derek Fathauer -5
5 Peter Malnati -5
10 Eight Players
HIGHLIGHTS: ROUND 1
QUOTABLE: ANDREW LANDRY
“I love it out here (on the PGA Tour). This is the best place in the world and it’s the best job in the world. I’m happy to be out here and doing what I love.”
Credit: PGA Tour Media, Getty Images