Thursday, October 25, 2018
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Ryan Armour's attempt at winning back-to-back Sanderson Farms Championships will involve fighting fatigue as much as what the golf course throws his way.
The 42-year-old will starts his title defense at the Country Club of Jackson on Thursday just two days after flying back from South Korea, where he finished 29th at the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges.
"I'm a little tired," Armour said with a grin. "But we're going to try to give it a go tomorrow."
Armour's Sanderson Farms victory last year was his first PGA Tour win, and he used it as a springboard for a late-career revival. He finished last season with nine top-25 finishes and three top 10s, including a second-place finish at the Quicken Loans National. He finished 49th in last year's FedExCup standings.
"You put a lot of work in — as all of us do — and to finally reap the benefits of all that hard work and sacrifice that your wife and kids give up, not just yourself, it's definitely gratifying," Armour said.
Armour's off to a solid start this year, making the cut in both Malaysia and South Korea before returning to the United States. He said getting back on the course in Jackson brought back plenty of good memories. He won by five shots over Chesson Hadley last year.
Now if he can shake the cobwebs from the international travel, he should be in the mix.
It won't be easy.
Armour said he landed in Jackson on Tuesday evening, ate dinner and then went to bed around 9:30 p.m. About three hours later, he was wide awake. By 3 a.m., he had gone to the gym and ran six miles before getting to the course and playing in a pro-am in the morning.
By noon on Wednesday, the travel was catching up with him.
"I'm going to go take a nap," Armour said.
But Armour isn't complaining too much about the travel. He's one of several Sanderson Farms winners who have taken full advantage of the two-year winner's exemption, which allows Armour automatic entry into many PGA Tour events through 2020.
Sanderson Farms offers a winning opportunity for some of the tour's little-known players. The tournament is played at the same time as the World Golf Championship in China, which includes almost all of the top players like Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson.
There are nine previous Sanderson Farms winners in this year's field in Jackson, including Armour, Cody Gribble, Peter Malnati, Nick Taylor, Scott Stallings, Chris Kirk, Bill Haas, Chad Campbell and D.J. Trahan.