OAKMONT, PA. – Andrew Landry had all night to sleep on one putt, a 10-foot birdie attempt that could complete what most would consider a dream round.
And here he was with the opportunity to actually dream about the last stroke of his rain-interrupted first round. So, was his sleep filled with visions of sinking the putt and leading the U.S. Open?
“Not really,” Landry said. “I just kind of thought about (the putt) this morning a little bit. I read the putt yesterday. I knew what it was doing. I knew it was a cup and a half out to the right, so no big break. It was a pretty easy putt to make if you get the speed right.”
What an odd circumstance: Thursday’s third and final rain delay struck shortly after Landry stuck his 7 iron shot to his 18th hole of the day tantalizingly close. When play was suspended, he was required to return Friday morning to take – hopefully – a single stroke. He could have left his caddie and his golf bag back at the hotel, and just brought his putter.
An even more odd circumstance: Andrew Landry, 28-year-old Texas journeyman and sectional qualifier playing in his first Open shoots a 4 under 66 and leads all the big names going into a busy and confusing Friday.
Yeah, he made the putt. And then threw a little water on the whole dream round scenario. “Just one of those rounds that comes to you not once in a lifetime, but once or twice or three times a month. And I’m lucky it was in the first round of the U.S. Open,” he said.
If Landry regularly shoots such scores, it must have been mostly done in private. Ranked No. 642 in the world, he has spent his adult life grinding on the junior circuits of the game. He qualified this season for the PGA Tour through his work on the Web.com Tour (where he won in Colombia last year). Landry missed the cut in his first five PGA Tour events and recorded his best finish last week (41st) at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
To keep that hard-won card, Landry would need to finish in the top 125 of the PGA Tour money list. He’s currently 203rd, with a little more than $69,000 in the bank. Even if he doesn’t win the U.S. Open – the biggest of longshots – this represents a very important money-earning opportunity for him.
But Landry arrived at Oakmont for his first ever Open flush with confidence, even informing his father that his intention was to win.
“I think the U.S. Open just suits my game so well. I’m just able to manage these things because I’m not a guy who’s gong to go out and shoot 60, 61, 62. I’m just a consistent guy who’s gong to shoot 68 and make a lot of pars,” he said. Landry, at 5-7, 150 pounds, is not exactly built along the lines of the power-hitting eagle machines of today.
Because of the schedule scrambled by the rain, Landry will not begin his second round until Saturday. Thus did he come to Oakmont Friday and shoot a 1. Difficult to do much better than that.
His plans for the rest of that day were befitting a common man atop a U.S. Open leaderboard.
“I’m going to go do some laundry and take a nap,” he said.