U.S. Open: Meet Andrew Landry, who's in the final group with Shane Lowry

andrew landry, us open, oakmont
USA Today Sports Images
By Matt S. Craig
PGA.com

Published: Sunday, June 19, 2016 | 11:49 a.m.

Can you guess the last time a player won the U.S. Open on their first try?

I'm sure Tiger Woods must've done that right? Nope. Jack Nicklaus? No sir. You have to go back to 1913, when Francis Ouimet won in his first U.S. Open appearance at Brookline.

It's a story most golf fans are familiar with, thanks to the 2005 film "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

Now over a hundred year's later, first-timer Andrew Landry is leading this year's U.S. Open after round one completed on Friday morning. If he were to win it all on Sunday, I find it hard to believe they wouldn't be making a movie about him one day.

Landry's name already has been written in the history books, as his score of 66 was the lowest first round score in the history of the U.S. Open, and the lowest at Oakmont in competitive play. Golf fans were sent scrambling, all wondering the same thing: who is Andrew Landry?

So we put together a list of eight things you need to know about Andrew Landry, giving you even more reasons to root for him this weekend just in case his huge underdog status isn't enough.

1. He grew up on a golf course.

Landry grew up in Groves, Texas, next to a nine hole golf course lovingly named the "Pea Patch." His college coach called the course "a rinky-dink place where they might use coffee cans as cups." I'm sure Landry played more than a few rounds there, and claims to have even carded a 58 on two trips of the course.

It's a perfect opening scene for the movie. I can see it now...a champion rises from humble beginnings.

2. He was a three-time All-American at Arkansas.

During his accomplished college career, Landry even played in the deciding match of the 2009 NCAA Championship. His Arkansas Razorbacks were facing Texas A&M in the finals, and the outcome rested on Landry's pairing.

He trailed by four holes with only five to play, but rallied back to tie the match heading to the 18th hole. Unfortunatly, his dramatic comeback was stopped short after an incredible recovery shot by his opponent, and Landry lost.

Come on, you can't tell me this doesn't sound like the makings of the greatest sports movie ever.

3. He paid his dues on the mini-tours.

After turning professional, Landry spent years refining his game and grinding on the mini-tours. In 2015, he finally earned a spot on the Web.com tour, and picked up a victory at the Karibana Championship. His stellar play there landed him a PGA Tour card for this season, where he's played 12 events.

After rain stopped play on Thursday, all Landry had left was a birdie putt on his 18th hole to finish the round. Due to the wet conditions at the spectator entrance, play had to resume before spectators were even allowed on the course. His birdie on the 18th hole was met without any applause. He was asked after the round if that was a weird feeling. "No," he said, "it felt like the mini-tours."

Like any good movie hero, he's paid his dues!

4. He's ranked 624th in the world rankings, and 203rd out of 239 in FedEx Cup standings.

Even Tiger Woods, who hasn't played since the Wyndham Championship last August, is ranked 569th, well above Landry. In his 12 PGA Tour events, he has missed the cut seven times, and his best finish was T41 at last week's FedEx St. Jude Classic.

In fact, if Landry were to finish in just the top 30 this week at the U.S. Open, his earnings would be more than he's earned from his other 12 events combined.

American movie-goers love an underdog story, and they have one here.

5. He's never shot below 68 in his PGA Tour career.

Landry's 66 in the first round is even more impressive when you consider this. Here are a list of players who never shot below 68 at Oakmont:

Jack Nicklaus
Tiger Woods
Arnold Palmer
Sam Snead
Ben Hogan
Gary Player
Tom Watson

That's an incredible list. So no matter what happens the rest of the tournament, Landry can hold his head up high. And it's a record that may not be broken for a long time, considering how difficult the course plays.

6. He's confident he can win it all.

After his round, Ian O'Connor of ESPN reported the following conversation from Landry to his dad, Dwain:

"Dad," Landry told his old man, "I'm going to win this tournament."

"Drew," the father responded, "I have all the faith in the world that you can do this. You're just as good as the rest of those guys out there."

If this imaginary movie doesn't win the Oscar for best picture, it will be the biggest snub in history. Aaron Sorkin couldn't even write dialogue that's this good.

7. His playing style fits Oakmont.

In an interview he did while on the Web.com tour, Landry was asked about his game. He said it was "built for hard golf courses" and that his biggest strength was that he was "pretty accurate with the driver," which happens to be the most important attribute to have at Oakmont. Here's the full video:

 

 

8. If he wasn't a professional golfer, he'd be a fishing guide.

On the PGA Tour media page, Landry listed his favorite food as "crawfish and oysters," his favorite TV show as "Duck Dynasty," and said he'd be a fishing guide if he weren't a pro golfer.

I'm not sure what else to expect from a Texas native who went to the University of Arkansas, but these traits need to be considered in the casting of the movie.

So good luck this week to underdog Andrew Landry, and good luck to the production crew for this movie that they're going to make if he wins this thing. If we're going by the same timeline as "The Greatest Game Ever Played," we only have to wait until 92 years after the tournament. Can't wait for the premiere in the year 2108!

 

UPDATE:

It looked like Landry was fading Saturday morning after a four-over-par 39 on the front nine, but he rallied with a bogey-free back nine with three birdies sprinkled in. The result was a 71, placing him at three under par heading into Saturday afternoon's third round. He followed that with an even-par 70 in the third round and will play the final round with leader Shane Lowry, who he trails by four shots.

For those wondering about movie implications, have no fear. I seem to remember a scene in both "The Greatest Game Ever Played" and "The Legend of Bagger Vance" in which the player gets a little too confident and struggles for a couple holes, before settling down and getting back to their games. Could that happen again? Landry and Lowry begin their final rounds at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

Matt S. Craig is a PGA.com intern and a Digital Sports Production student at Ball State University.