Sanderson Farms Championship 2017
October 30, 2017
Ryan Armour's final round at the Sanderson Farms Championship was downright boring, which was exactly the plan.
The 41-year-old Armour earned his first PGA Tour win on Sunday, shooting a 4-under 68 to beat Chesson Hadley by five shots at the Country Club of Jackson.
Armour began the final round with a five-shot lead and was never seriously challenged. He won for the first time in 105 career starts, nailing fairway after fairway in bright sunshine and cool temperatures to avoid any drama.
''It's a big monkey off my back, I'm not going to lie,'' said Armour, who finished at 19 under for the tournament. ''There's a lot of emotions running through my head. Part of me wants to fly home immediately and see my wife and kids.
''And part of me wants to go hang out with the boys.''
Jonathan Randolph - a Jackson-area native playing on his home course - briefly made a charge with seven birdies over his first nine holes. That pushed him to 14 under, but Armour was able to maintain some separation thanks to three birdies on his first seven holes.
Randolph eventually cooled off and Armour methodically worked his way around the course with short, but straight drives. He had six birdies and two bogeys on Sunday and shot 68 or better in all four rounds.
At times, his drives would be 30 or 40 yards behind playing partners Hadley and Scott Strohmeyer, but his short game and putting were terrific.
''It's validation that you don't have to hit it 330 in the air to still win golf tournaments,'' Armour said. ''I hit a lot of fairways. I hit a lot of greens and made a lot of putts and somehow you still win.''
Hadley shot a 68. Randolph was third after shooting a 67 and finishing at 12 under. Smylie Kaufman, Brian Stuard and Strohmeyer - who was a Monday qualifier - tied for fourth at 10 under.
Armour's win bucks a trend at Sanderson Farms, which has been dominated over the past several years by the tour's younger golfers. Five of the previous six winners were in their 20s.
Armour is a career journeyman who first earned his PGA Tour card in 2007. He lost his card after the 2008 season and played in just one PGA Tour event from 2009 to 2014. In 2013, he didn't even qualify for the Web.com Tour, spending most of his time at home in Florida, hanging out with family and working on his game.
Now he's playing some of the best golf of his career.
''You've got to believe in something out here if you don't hit it 330,'' Armour said. ''I'm sticking to the fact that I hit fairways and greens.''
Armour navigated the course in a myriad of conditions throughout the tournament. It was warm and breezy during the first two rounds before a front came through Friday night, bringing rain and causing temperatures to drop dramatically for Saturday's third round.
It didn't matter for Armour, who handled every situation by finding fairways, staying out of trouble and knocking down a few long putts. He won $774,000, which now accounts for about a third of his career earnings on the PGA Tour. He also earned his PGA Tour card through the 2020 season.
''It's job security for a few years, which I've never really had out here,'' Armour said.
October 29, 2017
Ryan Armour shot a 5-under 67 during a windy, chilly third round Saturday to take a five-stroke lead at the Sanderson Farms Championship.
Armour, who led by one after 36 holes, had eight birdies and three bogeys to move to 15 under 201. Chesson Hadley (68) was next at 10 under. Vaughn Taylor (70), Scott Strohmeyer (68), Beau Hossler (69), Ben Silverman (69), and Seamus Power (71) were tied for third another shot back at 207.
Armour, 41, is seeking his first PGA Tour title in his 105th Tour event.
After the first two rounds were played in sunshine and near-80 degree temperatures, it was in the low 50s on Saturday. Biting wings added to the chill factor - and the uncertainty on judging shots.
An Ohio native who now lives in Jupiter, Florida, Armour fought through the conditions to post the day's low round. He overcame bogeys on holes Nos. 5-7 with four straight birdies on the back nine, capped by a 57-foot putt on the most difficult hole on the course, the par-4 16th, to regain control.
While Armour was grinding out pars and birdies, his youngest son, Patrick, was celebrating his ninth birthday at home in Jupiter. Armour credited his family for improving his game.
''The kids have helped me become more disciplined,'' he said. ''Back coming out of college, you thought you could do everything. But now with kids who get up early, wanting to be part of their life, I want to have energy. I get to bed early and up early, and that's discipline that's helping me on the golf course.
''I'm happy where I'm at with my family, my caddy, my instructor. My parents are healthy finally, everything is falling into place.''
He's been at the top of his game all week, tied for the lead after the first round, and then alone at the top following the second round, which was delayed by rain that came late Friday and completed on Saturday morning.
Armour took just 26 putts and made eight birdies Saturday. He followed his bogey string by stuffing an 8-iron to 4 feet for birdie on No. 8, made a 21-footer from the fringe for birdie on No. 10, and then got on a roll - again on Nos. 13-16. That birdie binge marked the second straight round he had par on each of those holes.
Asked how he'll handle being in the final group on Sunday, the even-natured Armour said he'll do what he's done each day.
''Kind of stick with what you're doing,'' he said. ''You're not always going to be able to, but my strength is - obviously, I have figured this out, finally - driving it in the fairway, hitting it on the green, and trying to make putts. I don't overpower a golf course.''
October 28, 2017
Ryan Armour and Tyrone Van Aswegen are threatening to break up the young men's monopoly at the Sanderson Farms Championship.
The 41-year-old Armour shot a 4-under 68 in Friday's second round to take a one-shot lead over Van Aswegen at the Country Club of Jackson.
Armour has never won on the PGA Tour and has only four top 10s in 104 career events. He made four straight birdies on the back nine and finished just before a wave of thunderstorms swept over the Country Club of Jackson and suspended play for the day.
There were 30 players still on the course when play ended. They'll finish their second rounds on Saturday in what's expected to be much colder weather. Armour, who grew up in Ohio, said he's used to playing in less than ideal conditions.
He's at 10-under 134.
''No matter if it's cold or hot, if the scores are going crazy, just give yourself as many opportunities as you can to be successful,'' Armour said.
Armour or Van Aswegen, 35, would be the oldest winner at Sanderson Farms since Woody Austin in 2013. Cody Gribble, Peter Malnati and Nick Taylor were all in their 20s when they won over the past three years. So were Scott Stallings, who won in 2012, and Chris Kirk in 2011.
Armour has been on the PGA Tour off and on since 2007, but never had consistent success, bouncing between the Web.com and PGA Tour. He didn't play in any PGA Tour events from 2011 and 2014 and didn't even qualify for the Web.com Tour in 2013.
He spent much of that time around his home course in Florida, catching up with family and making adjustments to his game.
''I knew if I was going to get back going, it had to happen then,'' Armour said.
He got his Web.com card back in 2014 and eventually made it back to the PGA Tour last season. He had to go to the Web.com Tour Finals to get his card back for this season and finished second in the first Finals event last month. Now he's brought that form to Mississippi.
Van Aswegen, winless in four years on the PGA Tour, shot the low round of the day, a 7-under 65. He tied for ninth at the Safeway Open earlier this month in Napa, California.
The South African started on the back nine and was 3-under before a double bogey on No. 16. He rebounded with seven birdies over his final 10 holes.
''I had to just make a decision to keep going,'' Van Aswegen said. ''If you don't do that, your round is toast. I was pretty happy to rebound after that. I had some luck along the way, too, so that was nice.''
Vaughn Taylor shot 66 and was two shots back, along with Seamus Power, who had two holes left to play in the second round on Saturday.
Dru Love, the son of Davis Love III who is playing on a sponsor's exemption, shot 67 and was four shots back. His father shot 72 and was likely to miss the cut.
October 27, 2017
Andrew Landry is back on the PGA Tour and off to a good start while trying to make the most of his second opportunity.
Landry and J.J. Spaun are among five players who shot a 6-under 66 to share the lead after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship.
The 30-year-old Landry got off to a blazing start at the Country Club of Jackson, shooting 6-under through the first five holes after starting on No. 10. The highlight was on No. 14 when he made eagle from 110 yards on a gap wedge shot that bounced once and into the hole.
Landry finished in seventh place at the Safeway Open in Napa, California, earlier this month. He followed that up with Thursday's opening flourish that even he found a hard to believe.
''Oh, man, it's been a while,'' Landry said. ''I mean, I do it every now and then when I'm at my home course, but to do it in the tournament, it's been a long time.''
Spaun made seven birdies and one bogey. He's in his second year on the tour after having three top 10 finishes last season. The other co-leaders are Conrad Shindler, Ryan Armour and Wyndham Clark. None of the five leaders have ever won on the PGA Tour.
Landry earned his way onto the PGA Tour in 2016 and finished 15th at the U.S. Open, but fell back to the Web.com Tour after an up-and-down season. He fought his way back by finishing fourth on the Web.com Tour last season and has kept the momentum.
''I've been out here and I know what to expect now,'' Landry said. ''Other guys, first-year guys, they don't really know what to expect.''
Smylie Kaufman and 2015 Sanderson Farms winner Peter Malnati are part of a group of four players who are one back after shooting a 67.
Kaufman might be the biggest name among the players at the top of the leaderboard. He had a big year in 2016 - winning the Shriners Hospital for Children Open - but struggled last season, finishing 141st in the FedExCup rankings. He said the difficult weeks helped him grow.
''I definitely learned a lot about the way I could fight, the way I could grind out rounds,'' Kaufman said. ''Even though I didn't have my best stuff, at times I was in contention going into the weekend last year.''
The tournament's defending champion Cody Gribble struggled with a 3-over 75. Dru Love shot a 1-under 71 to beat his father Davis Love III by one stroke. It's the first time in six events that the younger Love has posted a lower score than his dad.
|T25||USA||Billy Hurley III||-5||-||72||68||69||74||283|
|T25||RSA||Tyrone van Aswegen||-5||-||70||65||74||74||283|
|T30||USA||Davis Love IV||-4||-||71||67||72||74||284|
|T34||USA||J. J. Spaun||-3||-||66||75||71||73||285|
|T53||USA||J. T. Poston||Par||-||69||74||72||73||288|
|T68||-||Grady Brame Jr.||3||-||72||67||75||77||291|
|MDF||USA||J. J. Henry||Par||-||73||70||-||-||143|
|CUT||USA||D. J. Trahan||Par||-||71||73||-||-||144|
|CUT||USA||Davis Love III||Par||-||72||72||-||-||144|
|CUT||SWE||Richard S. Johnson||2||-||73||73||-||-||146|
|CUT||ZIM||Brendon de Jonge||3||-||77||70||-||-||147|
|CUT||USA||Ted Potter Jr.||4||-||74||74||-||-||148|