ADAMS TOUR: Swing adjustment paying off for golfer
April 12, 2013 at 11 p.m.
Updated April 11, 2013 at 11:12 p.m.
• 1 Michael Nicoletti (Dos Palos, Calif.) 64-72-70--206 -7
• T2 Dustin Morris (Crosby) 75-68-66--209 -4
• T2 Andrew Landry (Baton Rouge, La.) 74-67-68--209 -4
• T4 Michael Smith (Lafayette, La.) 72-70-69--211 -2
• T4 Blaine Weiterman (Tyler) 72-70-69--211 -2
• T4 Daniel Hoff (Bakersfield, Calif.) 72-72-67--211 -2
• T4 Garrett Driver (Humble) 71-70-70--211 -2
It wasn't a bad season by any stretch. Andrew Landry made all eight cuts in his 2012 season on the Adams Golf Pro Tour Series and made more than $16,000 in prize money.
Still, something wasn't quite right with his swing. He could feel it.
"I was struggling with my ball striking," said the 25-year-old golfer who graduated from Arkansas.
So he turned to an expert: Chuck Cook, a well-known golf coach based out of Austin known for helping Jason Dufner become a top-level pro, as well as making others into tournament winners. The goal: improve Landry's ball-striking ability.
"(Dufner) has been compared to Ben Hogan," Landry said. "So I went and worked with (Cook) a couple of weeks ago. ... It's helped my driving tremendously the last couple weeks, and out here you have to drive the ball pretty well.
"I'm hitting the ball well, getting it in the hole and playing pretty smart."
The adjustment made was a matter of inches.
"I needed to get my right shoulder a little bit deeper on my backswing to cause the club to come back down on a plane," he said.
Landry sits tied for second place after two rounds under 70, a bounce back from a mediocre opening round. He's back at the top of the standings, a place that has become familiar to him at the start of this Adams Tour season. He finished tied for fifth place in the Coca-Cola Wal-Mart Open in Alexandria, La., to open the season in mid-March and followed that up with a third-place finish last week at the Fakier Open at Houma, La.
This week, he enters Saturday's final round in second place and within striking distance of the tournament leader, Michael Nicoletti, who turned in a round of 1-under Friday to move back to 7-under for the tournament. Landry is tied with Dustin Morris, who surged up the leaderboard Friday with a round of 5-under.
Landry carded a 3-under 68 on Friday, which followed Thursday's low round of 67, to jump back into the thick of the race for the top of the leaderboard.
Overall, the native of Baton Rouge, La., is satisfied with the score he turned in Friday, another strong mark in a season of them so far for him. But, as Landry is quick to point out, it could have been better.
"I started off really good. I drove the ball really well on the front nine, actually played flawless golf on the front nine," he said. "I had two three-putts today on two par fives, so there's two birdies that should be on my card."
• Tournament leader Michael Nicoletti offset a 1-over round Thursday with a round of 1-under Friday. He continues to lead by three strokes, a large but not entirely safe lead. He was able to help himself on the 18th hole with a chip from the rough off the green within a foot of the hole to finish with a birdie on the par-5 hole. "It's always nice to end with a birdie, but it was coming off the heels of a bogey, so it's a nice momentum carrier for the end of today," the native of Dos Palos, Calif., said. "There's 18 holes; it's a marathon. So I'm going to play it one hole at a time. I know it's cliche, but that's the way it needs to go."
• Brad Besler entered Friday's round in second place after shooting a 68 on Thursday. He fell back Friday, shooting 3-over for the third round and falling to even-par for the tournament. He will tee off with Mark Stevens, who is at 1-over for the event, at 8:09 a.m. from Hole No. 1.
• Michael Smith is lurking again at the Victoria Open. Two years after coming up short on the final hole of the tournament, Smith is tied for fourth place at 2-under. Being five strokes back may seem insurmountable, but Smith can attest to the lack of safety for such leads. He shot even-par on the final day of the 2011 event and was caught thanks to a stellar round of 5-under by Blake L. Trimble.
• Nicoletti will play with Dustin Morris in the final round, teeing off at 9:03 a.m. from Hole No. 1. Landry will tee off with Smith from the same hole at 8:54 a.m.
• The prize pool for the entire event is $67,600. The winner will receive $11,450, second place will get $6,380, and third place will get $4,900.