OAKMONT, Pa. — It’s counterintuitive to say a 71 beats a 66 in golf, but Andrew Landry has already confounded most at Oakmont Country Club this week, so why shouldn’t he defy logic again.
The surprise first-round leader at the 116th U.S. Open stumbled early in his belated second round Saturday, going bogey-double bogey-bogey on Nos. 6-8 to turn in 39. As the black numbers were posted, you could hear observers start to mutter “one-round wonder” -- remember Landry’s best-career finish in a PGA Tour event is a T-41.
But then 28-year-old tour rookie calmed himself down and rallied on the back nine, making birdies on the 13th, 17th and 18th holes. Closing with a one-over 71, the Texas native let everyone know he wasn’t ready to give up the spotlight.
So how did Landry manage to keep his cool? Well, it helps that he never thought he had actually lost it.
“I didn’t hit any bad shots, I didn’t feel like,” Landry said after the round. “I didn't really do anything that bad besides just not hitting fairways.”
Call it confidence, cockiness or just naiveté, but Landry’s self-belief proved the most impressive part of his game Saturday as the first-time major-championship participant finished at three under for 36 holes, just one stroke off the lead of Dustin Johnson.
“I feel very comfortable,” Landry said. “I feel this golf course suits me very well. I’m not the player that’s going to go out and shoot 28-under par. I’ve never been that guy. I’m always the guy that’s going to kind of just dink it around right there and make pars and throw in a couple birdies.”
Long story short, Andrew Landry isn’t done crashing the USGA’s party just yet.