Landry, Spaun among leaders at Sanderson Farms
JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — Andrew Landry is back on the PGA Tour and off to a good start while trying to make the most of his second opportunity.
Landry and J.J. Spaun are among five players who shot a 6-under 66 to share the lead after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship.
The 30-year-old Landry got off to a blazing start at the Country Club of Jackson, shooting 6-under through the first five holes after starting on No. 10. The highlight was on No. 14 when he made eagle from 110 yards on a gap wedge shot that bounced once and into the hole.
Landry finished in seventh place at the Safeway Open in Napa, California, earlier this month. He followed that up with Thursday’s opening flourish that even he found a hard to believe.
“Oh, man, it’s been a while,” Landry said. “I mean, I do it every now and then when I’m at my home course, but to do it in the tournament, it’s been a long time.”
Spaun made seven birdies and one bogey. He’s in his second year on the tour after having three top 10 finishes last season. The other co-leaders are Conrad Shindler, Ryan Armour and Wyndham Clark. None of the five leaders have ever won on the PGA Tour.
Landry earned his way onto the PGA Tour in 2016 and finished 15th at the U.S. Open, but fell back to the Web.com Tour after an up-and-down season. He fought his way back by finishing fourth on the Web.com Tour last season and has kept the momentum.
“I’ve been out here and I know what to expect now,” Landry said. “Other guys, first-year guys, they don’t really know what to expect.”
Smylie Kaufman and 2015 Sanderson Farms winner Peter Malnati are part of a group of four players who are one back after shooting a 67.
Kaufman might be the biggest name among the players at the top of the leaderboard. He had a big year in 2016 — winning the Shriners Hospital for Children Open — but struggled last season, finishing 141st in the FedExCup rankings. He said the difficult weeks helped him grow.
“I definitely learned a lot about the way I could fight, the way I could grind out rounds,” Kaufman said. “Even though I didn’t have my best stuff, at times I was in contention going into the weekend last year.”
The tournament’s defending champion Cody Gribble struggled with a 3-over 75. Dru Love shot a 1-under 71 to beat his father Davis Love III by one stroke. It’s the first time in six events that the younger Love has posted a lower score than his dad.