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PGA TOUR: Landry starts with 67; Stroud even

Thursday would have been nearly the perfect today for some of the old Pea Patch crew to be following Andrew Landry and Chris Stroud in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Well, almost.

With Landry and Stroud in the rare situation of being in back-to-back groups, it would have been possible to watch pretty much every shot the two PNG exes hit. Only one of those shots would have made a fan cringe.

While Landry played near flawless golf on the way to a 4-under-par 67, Stroud was doing pretty much the same thing until the par 5, 13th hole. Two under at the time, and preparing to play the second easiest hole on the course, Stroud pushed his tee shot into a water hazard and walked away with a double bogey 7.

Ultimately, he settled for an even-par-71 which left him tied for 72nd and in a position where he’ll need to shoot under par Friday to make the cut.

Landry, meanwhile is T11, only three-shots off the front-running pace of Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Harold Varner III. He’s now working on a string of five consecutive rounds in the 60s since missing the cut at the Sony Open.

“It was a good day for me. Really solid,” said Landry. “I didn’t play super impressive but I’ll take 67 any day. It was pretty boring actually, but boring can be fun. I didn’t leave anything out there. Some of the pins were tough and the greens were firm.

“I pretty much took up where I left off two weeks ago at the Desert Classic. My ball striking has really been good. I’m not making many mistakes If I get the putter rolling, I might be able to get in the mix on the weekend.”

Landry’s scorecard showed four birdies, zero bogeys and almost no need to scramble. He hit 14 of 18 greens, with three of the birdies coming from inside 5 feet. The one birdie of significant length came when he chipped in from 45 feet on the par-4 sixth.

That got him to two under on the front. His first birdie had come from two inches on the par-5, third. On the back, he added birdies from 4 feet, 11 inches, on the par 4, 14th and from 4-7 on the par-5 15th.

Stroud had started his day with a 9-foot birdie on the par-4 first hole and got to 2 under with a 20-foot birdie on 10. The day went south, however, when his tee shot on 13 got away and he didn’t recover well enough to at least salvage a bogey.

Stroud once again struggled off the tee, hitting only 6 of 14 fairways. That would lead to being on just 10 of 18 greens in regulation. A strong putting day — he was T6 in strokes gained putting — kept things from getting away.