The Valero Texas Open in San Antonio has developed a reputation of being an event where golfers who were close to winning on the PGA Tour finally find a way to break through.
That standing was enhanced on Sunday when Texas native Andrew Landry fashioned a 4-under-par 68 to finish at 17-under 271 and post a two-shot victory at the TPC San Antonio’s demanding Oaks Course, in the process capturing his first career win in his 32nd PGA Tour start.
Trey Mullinax, who set the course record with a 62 on Saturday, carded a 69 on Sunday and finished in a tie for second with Sean O’Hair at 15 under. O’Hair canned a 55-foot putt from off the edge of the 18th green to secure the co-runner-up finish.
Landry, a 30-year-old from Port Neches in far southeast Texas, took charge from the start of the final round, birdieing the first three holes to set the pace and put the rest of the players near the lead into a chase mode. He added birdies on the sixth and 10th holes before bogeying the 11th.
Landry finished with seven consecutive pars as, one by one, his pursuers fell to the wayside.
He is the fourth Texas-born player to earn his first career win in this event, joining Ben Crenshaw, Bart Bryant and Bob Estes. Landry is also the sixth golfer since 2004 to win for the first time on Tour in the San Antonio event, and the fourth since 2011.
“It took a lot of hard work to get to this point,” Landry said. “Today was a grind, especially on the back nine, and the wedge shot I hit into the 18th was not the best, but it was a good two-putt, and I’ll take it.”
Playing alongside Landry and second- and third-round co-leader Zach Johnson, Mullinax kept up the pressure throughout the round, making a nifty par from above the bunker in the middle of the green on the par-3 16th to stay within one shot. However, he chunked his second shot on the short par-4 17th into a greenside bunker and eventually bogeyed to fall two shots off the pace with just one hole to play.
Jimmy Walker, the 2016 Valero Texas Open winner and a local favorite, shot 5 under on Sunday and finished alone in fourth at 14 under. Johnson never got on track in the final round and struggled to an even-par round, finishing fifth at 13 under.
Joaquin Niemann of Chile, the 19-year-old former World No. 1 amateur making his professional debut, shot 5 under on Sunday and finished at alone in sixth at 12 under, five shots off of Landry’s lead. Second-round co-leader Ryan Moore (even par on Sunday) was another shot back in seventh.
“This is an amazing feeling, to be competing with the best players in the world and seeing my name on the leaderboard,” Niemann said. “Before this week, my game was good, but my putter was not good enough, but that changed here. Now I just have to keep it going.”
Kevin Streelman (5 under in his final round), Andrew Putnam (3 under) and Chris Kirk (1 under) ended up tied for eighth, seven shots back. Billy Horschel (2 under), Ben Crane (5 under), Richy Werenski (1 under) and Scotland’s Martin Laird (even), the 2013 winner of this event, tied for 11th at 9 under.
Landry, who lives in Austin, first turned heads in the golf world when he led the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh after the first round. He played well in the second and third rounds as well, pairing with Shane Lowry of Ireland in the final group in the final round and eventually finishing tied for 15th.
“We had the goal beginning this year to play in the Tour Championship, and it’s still my goal,” Landry said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but this will definitely help.”
In January 2018, Landry had his career-best PGA Tour finish and only top-10 showing on Tour before Sunday when he lost in a four-hole, sudden-death playoff to Spain’s Jon Rahm at the CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, Calif.
The Tour moves to Avondale, La., next week for the Zurich Classic, a two-player team event, at the TPC Louisiana.
–Field Level Media