PGA TOUR: PNG grads, Stefani start fast at Wyndham

Published 7:28 pm Thursday, August 1, 2019

Chris Stroud, who would shoot three-under-par 67, hit the shot of the day in the opening round of the Wyndham Classic in Greensboro, North Carolina, but Andrew Landry (65) and Shawn Stefani (66) hit more good shots.

Landry, playing the back nine first, struggled through his first four holes at 2-over, then played the final 14 at 7-under to end the day tied for 16th. Stefani, also playing the back nine first, followed a similar path, playing his final 13 holes in five under to shoot 66 and tie for 27th.

Stroud, meanwhile, holed a 9 iron from 146-yards for an eagle-2 on the 10th hole, but didn’t get the most out of his round because he played Sedgefield Country Club’s two easy 5-par-holes in one over. When the birdie-fest ended, his 67 was tied for 46th.

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Byeong Hun An and Sunglae Im sat atop the leaderboard with 63s. Three more players were in at 63, there were nine 64s and 10 65s. The 36-hole cut is likely to be projected at 4-under 136.

Landry and Stefani both need high finishes to climb into the top 125 in FedEx Cup points and qualify for the opening round of the playoffs next week. After his 65, PNG grad Landry was projected to move from 132 to 124.

Lamar ex Stefani, who also needs to get into the top 125 to earn his PGA Tour card for 2020, was projected to move from 134 to 132, so he has to keep moving up the leaderboard.

Landry, following his wobbly start, used precision iron play to turn things around. He stuck it to 2 feet, 11 inches on a par 3 and stuffed it to 3-10 and 2-5 on par 4s. Two of his other birdies came from inside a foot after he hit both the par 5s in two. On the par 5, 4th (his 13th hole), he had it 12-11 for eagle.

Proof of Landry’s stellar iron play was his No. 3 ranking in strokes gained approach. He was No. 2 in strokes gained tee to green. For good measure, he crushed the second longest drive of the day — 355 yards on No. 9.

Stroud started fast with a birdie from 18-2 on the second hole, gave it back with a bogey on 3, then made the turn in one under after hitting it to 4-3 on 9. The eagle got him to three under at 10.

The chance for going low got away when he drove into the rough on the par-5, 15th and hit his second into water. He got back to three with a birdie from 18-10 on 11.