BOB WEST ON GOLF — Sizzling Andrew Landry hopes to keep rolling in Houston Open

Published 12:32 am Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Nobody from Southeast Texas has ever won the Houston Open or, for that matter, really come close. It was always a source of frustration for the late Bruce Lietzke, who won 13 times on the PGA Tour, including twice at the Colonial in Fort Worth and twice at the Byron Nelson in Dallas, that he never was able to break through in Houston.

Now along comes PN-G ex Andrew Landry, fresh off two top 10s in four 2021-22 starts, with his eyes on the prize this week at Memorial Park in Houston. Landry would love for Houston to be his third PGA Tour victory but admits it’s a long shot because the course doesn’t set up all that well for him.

“It’s a little bit quirky and I’m still learning how to play it,” he said of a Memorial Park layout that’s the product of a massive makeover by heralded architect Tom Doak and PGA star Brooks Koepka. Landry missed the cut last year in his first look at Memorial Park, after shooting rounds of 70-77.

The HO, under the leadership of Jim Crane and the Astros Golf Foundation, was moved to Memorial Park in the fall of 2020 after several years at the Golf Club of Houston. Prior to that, the HO had enjoyed a long run at The Woodlands TPC course.

“The first PGA Tournament I ever watched was the Houston Open at The Woodlands in the 1990s,” said Landry. “It’s sort of home. I would go there and dream about someday winning that tournament. Like I said, Memorial Park doesn’t fit my game, but I’m playing really well. I’m going in there with a positive attitude.”

Landry saying he’s playing really well is almost an understatement, since eight of his last 10 competitive scores are 68 or better. He’s coming off a tie for seventh this past week in the Worldwide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, following rounds of 66-68-67-68.

Five of the six players who beat him, headed by repeat champ Victor Hovland at No. 10, are in the top 31 in the Official World Golf Rankings.

“I started fast and when I do that I usually hang in there pretty good,” Landry said. “My putting was great. In the first and third rounds I had 22 putts. I kept it in play on what everybody seems to think is a really tight layout. It is always a course that has set up well for me. I have a lot of confidence there.”

Landry’s T7 at Mayakoba came in the second event after he finished T4 at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi on rounds of 68-68-66-66. The two top 10s are one more than he had all of last year. He’s already earned $498,700, after making just $594,200 the previous season. And he’s up to No. 25 in Fed Ex Cup points.

“Everything is going good right now,” he says. “I’m in such a much better place mentally than I was last year. I’ve been working hard to get my club a little deeper in the backswing. It allows me to turn hard left and hit really quality shots. I am back to being excited about playing.”

Landry’s 15-under-par performance at Mayakoba was highlighted by making 9 birdies on par 3 holes. He was an amazing 8 under on 16 par-3 opportunities. Unfortunately, he was only one under on the course’s par 5s, making just 3 birdies and 2 bogeys in 12 chances.

“It has become a thing with par 5s,” he said. “I’m not sure what the deal is. If I play them the way I should, I’m right there are the end. For some reason, I’m not hitting my 3-wood well. But everything else is great. I will get it worked out.”

Landry won’t be the only player with Southeast Texas ties hoping to make waves at the Houston Open. Fellow PN-G ex Chris Stroud is in the field, as are former Lamar players Shawn Stefani, Dawie van der Walt and M.J. Daffue.

CHIP SHOTS: Mike Junot of Port Acres hit the jackpot last Wednesday when he scored his first ever hole-in-one in the DogFight at Babe Zaharias. Junot sank a 9-iron from 118 yards on No. 2, with Rusty Hicks, Steve Wisenbaker, and Brad Royer cheering him on.

Because he’s a dues-paying DogFight member, Junot collected $200. It would have been more, but he opted not to enter the $2 closest-to-the pin competition. Junot’s ace marked the fourth consecutive week someone has scored a hole-in-one at Zaharias.

Format for the Monday Senior 50-Plus game at Zaharias was low three-ball. The team of Hollis Whorton, Rusty Hicks, John House and Larry Foster won the front with minus 2. On the back, plus 5 won for the team of Jim Cady, Bobby Wactor, Bob Luttrull and Art Turner.

Closest to the pin winners were Don MacNeil, who missed a hole-in-one by three inches on No. 2, Cap Hollier (7-10 on No. 7), Calvin Landry (16-9 on No. 12) and Charlie Leard (2-7 on No. 15).

The Super Saturday 2 ball at Zaharias saw the team of Kenny Robbins, Rick Pritchett, Dan Harrington and Charles Perez win the front at minus 1. Even par took the back for the foursome of Earl Richard, John Jessen, Lonnie Mosley and MacNeil.

In the Friday 2 ball, the team of James Vercher, Ron Mistrot, Harrington and Perez prevailed on the front with minus 1. That was also the winning score for the fivesome of Ron LaSalle, Cesar Chavez, Larry Johnson, Dale Carter and Paul Duplantis.

Closest to the pin winners were Luttrull (No. 2), Dwayne Benoit (No. 7), Vercher (No. 12) and Carter (No. 15).

The Wednesday DogFight was played in an all-points-count format and ended in a two-way tie. Totaling 26 points was the team of Earl Richard, Johnson, Dillard Darbonne and Darrell Mouille and the team of Cady, Landry, Dan Flood and Bill Jones.

Closest to the pin winners were Vercher (No. 2), Ed Holley (No. 7, Landry (No. 12) and Gary Whitfill (No. 15).

Golf news should be e-mailed to rdwest@usa.net.