At age 41, Ryan Armour is a PGA Tour winner for the first time.
The Akron, Ohio, native captured the Sanderson Farms Championship on Sunday, winning in his 105th career Tour start. Armour didn’t shoot worse than 4-under 68 in any of the four rounds at the Country Club of Jackson (Miss.) and his closing 68 helped him secure five-shot victory over runner-up Chesson Hadley.
“It’s a big monkey off my back, I’m not going to lie,” Armour said. “There’s a lot of emotions running through my head right now. … It’s great. It’s job security for a few years, which I’ve never really had out here. It’s a validation that you don’t have to hit it 330 in the air to still win golf tournaments.
“I hit fairways and greens, and somehow it worked.”
Prior to Sunday, Armour had notched just four top 10s on the PGA Tour since turning pro in 1999 and first earning his Tour card in 2007. He made 20 Tour starts last season before a 159th-place finish in FedEx Cup points sent him to the Web.com Tour Finals, where he finished runner-up at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship at the home course of his alma mater Ohio State University to keep his card.
But Armour carried a five-shot lead into the final round, the largest 54-hole lead at the Mississippi-based event since 1986. He then made six final-round birdies, including ones that came on made putts of 16, 20 and 45 feet, to stretch his winning total to 19-under 269.
“I don’t what else I would do,” Armour said. “I love playing golf.”
Hadley, who is back on the PGA Tour after winning twice last season on the Web.com Tour, has yet to finish outside the top 3 in two starts this season. Jonathan Randolph, 160th in FedEx Cup points last season, was solo third at 12 under. The Jackson-area native birdied seven of his first nine holes on Sunday, but couldn’t get closer than three shots from Armour, who birdied three of his first seven.
Smylie Kaufman and Brian Stuard shared fourth place along with Scott Strohmeyer, who Monday-qualified into the event. Strohmeyer was a member of Alabama’s 2013 NCAA Championship squad; World No. 3 Justin Thomas was also a member of that team.
Armour’s son Patrick celebrated his ninth birthday on Saturday, but his dad couldn’t be there in Jupiter, Fla., to give Patrick a present.
Maybe a nice, shiny trophy will make up for it.