Most of the time, the outcome in golf is fickle. Often, there’s little rhyme or reason when it comes to the predictability of who is going to win. Andrew Landry? He’d missed seven of his previous eight cuts prior to this week’s American Express.
So, naturally, on Sunday the 32-year-old Texan won for just the second time in his career on the PGA Tour.
“Winning out here is hard,” Landry said after a final-round five-under 67 that led to a two-stroke victory over Abraham Ancer.
Knowing when it’s going to happen is, too.
Landry’s only other victory on tour came in 2018, at the Valero Texas Open. How’d he play in the weeks leading up to the event? Pretty much the same—at least results-wise—with four missed cuts and a T-42 in his five previous starts.
Even tracing back to his days on the Korn Ferry Tour (then the Web.com Tour), the unpredictability was there. In the week prior to his win at the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club in 2017, Landry missed the cut at the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.
Maybe there is something here after all, at least when it comes Landry. There were clues.
The only other time Landry came close to winning on the PGA Tour was in 2018, at the same track where he won on Sunday, the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif.
“You look at guys like Tiger Woods, they're playing a limited schedule for a reason,” Landry said during the week. “Tiger Woods isn't going to show up at the RBC Heritage because that golf course does not fit him. So that's kind of what we do as players, we build our schedule around golf courses that fit us. So this is one of them, it fits me.”
In 2018 at the American Express, Landry lost in a playoff to Jon Rahm after squandering a two-stroke lead on the final day. That afternoon, Landry needed to make an 11-foot birdie on the 72nd hole just to force overtime.
He nearly blew it this time, too. After making the turn in 33 and tacking on three straight birdies to open the back nine, it looked like Landry would cruise to his second career title. He led by six over Ancer and was on his way.
Until it all began to unravel.
It started with a three-putt bogey from 60 feet on the par-3 13th, followed by another three-jack from 12 feet on the par-4 14th and when Landry failed to get up and down from left of the green at the par-4 15th, his lead was all but gone.
After a par that felt like a bogey on the par-5 16th, it was.
Ancer, who closed with a 63 that included four birdies over his final eight holes, was in the clubhouse and tied for the lead.
Then there was Scottie Scheffler, who appeared to fall out of contention with three bogeys in his first six holes but was suddenly in it again, one back after an eagle at the 16th.
“I've seen [roller-coaster rounds], but I haven't been a part of them,” Landry said. “I don't like being a part of them either. I told [my caddie] on number 15, I said, Let's go get this job done, like, quit messing around. And, yeah, I don't want to be a part of something like that ever again.”
Then, the unpredictable. Again.
Having just blown the lead and playing the 166-yard 17th, Landry stuck his tee shot over the water that surrounds the par 3 to five feet. It was a nervy shot in the best of circumstances. Then he coolly made the putt for birdie to move one ahead of Ancer and two clear of Scheffler.
"That's a tough shot, especially with the number that we had today,” he said. “I knew 9-iron was just not going to -- I would have to flush one to get it to the front edge. And so having to chip something down, and when there's water completely around the whole entire green, is a tough shot and especially in that moment. But I just held on and hit a great golf shot there.”
Landry then repeated himself on 18, sticking his wedge to within a few feet of the hole to set up one last birdie.
“I played some good golf throughout the week, and my golf swing just did not feel super comfortable today,” he said. “It started out all right and got a little loosey goosey there.
“So just to be able to get the job done, man, it means a lot to be able to be a winner again.”
It had to. Because not many, including Landry, could have seen this one coming.