Sam Ryder seeking a ‘Cup’ all his own, trails by three shots after round two of American Express

·3 min read

No, he’s not that “Samuel Ryder.”

But he may well conclude this American Express week with his name etched on a trophy all the same.

Seeking his first PGA Tour win, 32-year-old Sam Ryder (no relation to the Ryder Cup namesake) continued his strong history of desert play on Friday, shooting a 4-under 68 at La Quinta Country Club.

Making his fifth career American Express appearance, Ryder has gone 4-for-4 in cuts made at the event, and, following his Thursday round of 65 at the Stadium Course, his two-day tally of 11 under finds him in the mix anew. He is tied for eighth place, three shots behind leader Patrick Cantlay.

Prior to finishing his day on fumes (bogeys on Nos. 15 and 18), Ryder segued his stellar opening round into some engaging play at La Quinta.

Sam Ryder putts on the 17th green during the second round of the American Express golf tournament at La Quinta Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

“Even though all I can think about right now is the sloppy finish, all in all, I’ve been playing really solid,” said Ryder, who made the cut and finished 63rd at last week’s Sony Open “I’m driving it well, I made some early putts and I think my game is rounding into form. It’s always good to be in the mix after Friday. Obviously, this cut is after Saturday, but if you told me I’d be in this position after two days — especially after already playing the Stadium — I’d be happy.”

Tied for The American Express lead multiple times during his Friday round, Ryder punctuated his day with three consecutive birdies on holes 11-13. After getting up-and-down with a suburb flop (from the ensuing tee box) on the par-5 11th, Ryder didn’t let coming up shy on the 202-yard par-3 12th slow his flow.

“I was thinking about chipping it, but it was one of those where it just looked good the whole way,” Ryder said of ramming in a 40-foot birdie putt from the rough-fringe cut. “I had a good read on it, and it just took off and was kind of tracking the whole way. You take it as a bonus, so I grabbed it out of the hole and was ready to get on to the next.”

The Winter Park, Florida native aims to keep rolling in Saturday’s round at 10:20 a.m. alongside playing competitor Tyler McCumber at the Nicklaus Tournament Course.

“It’s a course where I’ve had success in the past, but I’m not setting expectations,” said Ryder. “It’s not as difficult off the tee as the Stadium Course, so I really just wanna put the ball in the fairway and let my iron play work.”

And as for sharing an appellation with one of the most famed names in golf history? It’s not a coincidence from which the golfer shies.

“I think it’s fun, and I don’t ever think of it as a curse,” Ryder said. “Really, I use it almost more as motivation to kind of live up to that name a little bit. And how cool would the story be if I was able to play on a Ryder Cup? That’s always been in the back of my head, even before I turned pro.”