Longtime APGA Tour standout and former LSU star Landon Lyons used an eight-birdie, bogey-free opening round performance to fashion a comfortable victory at APGA Tour at TPC Deere Run on Tuesday afternoon.

Competing on the same course where J.T. Poston won the PGA TOUR’s John Deere Classic at 21-under over four rounds just nine days ago, Lyons carded 12 birdies in his first 24 holes to build an insurmountable lead over the 46-man field.  It was his fifth APGA Tour title since 2020 and second this year as he pursues his dream of playing on the PGA TOUR.  Lyons won APGA Tour at TPC Deere Run in 2020.

Despite a bumpy second round, Lyons’ final tally was a five-stroke victory over Toks Pedro, winner of last week’s APGA Tour at TPC Sugarloaf, with a nine-under par 63-70-133.  At one point, his lead reached nine strokes.  Lyons pocketed the first place prize of $7,500 from the total purse of $25,000.

“It’s nice to see the work this year pay off,” offered Lyons, who started 12 events on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica this past winter and spring after finishing second at the tour’s qualifying competition in Argentina.  “It’s what we’ve been working on with my swing.  I’m hitting it a lot closer and I was able to sink the handful of 10-15-footers.”  Lyons has started one Korn Ferry Tour event but otherwise knows a series of near misses in both Q School and Monday qualifying.  “I’ve been getting the low numbers that are needed these past few weeks.  Have to keep elevating my game.”

Pedro, the Nigerian now living in Orlando, finished at 70-68-138, one stroke ahead of Marcus Byrd of Knoxville, Tennessee, and Joseph Hooks of Farmington Hills, Michigan, both with two-day totals of 139.  Hooks and Joey Stills of Orlando both shot second-round best scores of 67 with Stills finishing in a tie for seventh with Tim O’Neal of Savannah, Georgia, and Aaron Beverly of Fairfield, California. Andrew Walker of Holt, Michigan, tied for fifth place with a 140 total.

Also tied for fifth at 140 was Marcus Smith Jr. from the Howard University Golf Team.  Smith and teammate Joshua Siplin were exempted into the field as part of the APGA’s efforts to provide next-level opportunities to HBCU golfers.  The Howard University Golf Team is funded in part by Steph Curry, the World Champion Golden State Warriors star who was MVP of the NBA Finals last month.

The APGA Tour now moves to Louisville, Kentucky for APGA Tour at Valhalla, July 19-20. The regular season then culminates August 8-9, when the Mastercard APGA Tour Championship is contested at TPC San Antonio, where the Lexus Cup Point Standings Champion will be crowned. 

Cole Smith with Landon Lyons (contributed photo.)

The tour then moves into its four-event Farmers Insurance Fall Series in the St. Louis, Houston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles markets. Invitational events are also scheduled for famed Baltusrol Golf Club (August 15-17) and at Port Royal Course in South Hampton, Bermuda, as part of Bermuda Black Golfers Week (October 24-26).

The APGA Tour was established in 2010 with the mission to bring greater diversity to the game of golf by hosting and operating professional golf tournaments, player development programs, mentoring programs, and introducing the game to inner-city young people. The tour has grown from seven events with $200,000 in prize money in 2020 and 14 events with over $400,000 in prize money in 2021, to 18 events with over $800,000 in prize and bonus money in 2022.