Driving woes take toll on Andrew Landry; Braden Bailey takes third in Mississippi

Published 9:40 pm Saturday, August 10, 2019

Uncharacteristic struggles off the tee Saturday, some of it likely caused by swirling winds at Liberty National Golf Club, left Andrew Landry’s hopes of reaching the second round of the FedEx Cup playoffs in serious jeopardy.

Landry, after an early run of three consecutive birdies moved him into a tie for 10th, stumbled to a two-over-par 73 that left him tied for 35th at 208 in the Northern Trust Open in Jersey City, New Jersey. Nearly all the damage was done with errant tee shots.

The news was much better for another PNG ex competing in a professional event. Braden Bailey, making his first start on the All-Pro Tour, shot a closing 70 for a 14-under-par 274 that left him tied for third in the Taco Bell Classic at Beau Pre Country Club in Natchez, Mississippi.  Bailey finished only one shot back of winner Stephen Shepard.

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Landry’s problems, meanwhile, started when his opening drive sailed into a water hazard. He would go on to make six bogeys, five of them after leaving his tee shot in a bunker and the other following the water ball on the first hole.

Patrick Reed grabbed the 54-hole lead with a 67 for 14-under 199. Abraham Ancer is a stroke back at 200. Brandt Snedeker and Jon Rahm are another shot back at 201.

Second round leader Dustin Johnson staggered to a 74 and is at 204. Jordan Spieth also shot 74 and stands at 205.

Landry, who started the third round tied for 15th, looked to be in great shape after rolling in birdies from 10 feet, 6 inches from the par-3 fourth, from 23 inches on the par-4 fifth and from 2 feet on the par-5 sixth. But it would be downhill from there, as he would make five bogeys against a lone birdie at 13 over the final 12 holes.

One of the tour’s straightest drivers, he managed to hit only 7 of 14 fairways and 10 of 18 greens in regulation. The 73 snapped a string of seven consecutive tournament rounds in the 60s for Landry.

To advance to next week’s BMW Classic, he needs to be 70th or better in FedEx Cup points after Sunday’s final round in the Northern Trust. He started the week at 123rd, climbed to 77th after the second round, then faded to 105 after Saturday. He has to finish outright 10th to get into the top 70.

Bailey was in contention down to the final putt in Natchez. He came to the 72nd hole, a par 5, needing a birdie to be part of a three-way playoff but had to settle for par. He shot rounds of 70-68-66-70 for his 274.

In the final round he had two birdies against two bogeys to make the turn in even par, then birdied the 10th and 11th holes. He was, however, unable to make the one more birdie that would have gotten him into the playoff.

Bailey will make his second APT start next week at Crown Colony Golf Club in Lufkin.