With a final-round 68 enough to hold off the chasing pack, Andrew Landry became the seventh first-time winner on the PGA Tour this season with a two-shot victory at the Valero Texas Open.
Landry headed into the final-round in a one-shot tie for the lead with Zach Johnson – ahead of Trey Mullinax in third – moved outright immediately and never looked back; as a result, he now joins a list of first-time winners this season including Patton Kizzire and Patrick Cantlay.
Without a win on the PGA Tour, and sharing the lead with a 12-time PGA Tour and two-time Texas Open winner in Johnson, Landry could have been forgiven for a nervy start.
Under all that pressure though, Landry’s start was a stark contrast to what might have been expected. Three straight opening birdies raced the Texas-native into an early outright lead and he added another on the fifth to go out in an unblemished 32.
At the turn of the final round Landry found himself three-shots clear at the top and began the back-nine in the same fashion he began the front-nine – with a birdie. Mullinax, at 15-under, was now Landry’s closest challenger three back.
The first knock to Landry’s Sunday scorecard came on the par-four 11th. A drive set up a mere 117-yard approach shot that raced over the back of the green into a severe drop-off zone. Unable to get up-and-down, Landry made his first bogey since the first-hole on Friday. To make matters worse, with Mullinax birdieing the 11th himself, the lead was now just one.
On a very pedestrian Sunday back-nine, five birdies apiece followed for the leading two and they headed to the 17th still separated by just one shot. So when Landry left himself well over 60-feet to get up-and-down with the putter, Mullinax’s eyes would have lit up. Could that have caused a lack of focus? The 25-year-old duffed his short pitch into the bunker and couldn’t get any closer than Landry with his third out of the sand.
The latter salvaged a par but it would be a gut-wrenching bogey for Mullinax as he took to the par-five 18th hole now two shots off the lead and needing a severe slip-up by Landry on a hole he had made no worse than par all week.
There would be no such slip-up. Landry plotted his way to a comfortable par to keep out of reach of Mullinax, who made a par of his own, and kickstart a career in the winner’s circle at 30 years of age.