Andrew Landry had a dream start to his 2017-’18 campaign on the US PGA Tour, collecting three finishes inside the top seven before February and breaking through for his first victory in April at the Valero Texas Open. Instead of building on that success, Landry has seen a noticeable drop off in his play, the worst of it coming in the form of a first-round 81 at last week’s Travelers Championship.
Knowing he was heading home early, Landry went out and played well anyway, carding a second-round 67 and ending the week on a high note. Whatever went well for him on Friday at TPC River Highlands carried over into Thursday at TPC Potomac, where Landry opened with a bogey-free, seven-under 63 to grab a share of the Quicken Loans National lead with J.J. Spaun.
“Struggling the last few weeks, actually, like the last few months,” said Landry, who has missed three cuts in six starts since his Valero win and finished no higher than T-65. “Just been trying to grind it out. Something kind of clicked when we were playing the final round, well, my final round on Friday at Travelers.
“I just haven’t really been playing good to be honest with you. I was just going to come out today and just try and have some fun and get back to it. I know the season is long. Ball-striking was there today. The driver was not as good as I wanted, but the irons made up for it. I put a new putter in the bag this week. We’ll see what happens. “
Before playing his past 36 holes on the US PGA Tour in 10-under, Landry had carded four rounds of 76 or worse in his previous 12. A quick bounce back like that takes confidence, something the 30-year-old pointed to after his round.
“Self-belief, believing in yourself that you can be out here and compete out there, that’s the biggest part of it.”
Spaun, whose round was also bogey-free, is attempting to put together a small comeback of his own after being sidelined for nearly two months with an injury following the Honda Classic. In eight events since, he’s made just three cuts, but one of those came at the AT&T Byron Nelson, where he tied for third.
Just one back is the duo of Billy Horschel and Andrew Putnam with 64s. Putnam, another who played without a bogey, is just three weeks removed from a solo second at the FedEx St Jude Classic, where he struggled in the final pairing alongside Dustin Johnson. Horschel recovered from a missed cut at the Travelers with his lowest score since last season’s FedEx St Jude Classic.
Beau Hossler and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer are two back after posting five-under 65s.
Geoff Ogilvy and Marc Leishman are the highest-placed Aussies, both firing three-under to sit in a share of 10th.