Third-year veteran Sam Burns lastly transformed on 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour occasion and captured his maiden victory in his 76th profession begin Sunday at the Valspar Championship in Tampa. The 24-year-old fired a final-round, 3-under 68 to greatest Keegan Bradley by three pictures and end at 17-under 267, only one shot off the event scoring file.
Burns had been within the third-round lead twice earlier than this season, first in November at the Houston Open, the place he carded a 2-over 72 within the remaining spherical and completed six again (T-7). At the Genesis Invitational in February, he constructed a five-shot lead after two rounds, and regardless of capturing a third-round 74, Burns nonetheless held a two-shot lead. But a final-round 69 left him one shot out of the playoff gained by Max Homa.
The Louisiana native was in a position to get it carried out Sunday. Burns entered the ultimate spherical tied with Bradley for the lead at 14-under 199, matching the 54-hole event scoring file, and the previous LSU All-American pulled forward first due to a birdie-birdie begin at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course. He grabbed one other birdie at No. 7, however Bradley stored tempo and Burns’ bogey at No. 8 and Bradley’s birdie at No. 9 had Burns trailing by a shot at the flip.
“I think it makes it — you have a better understanding of what it takes,” stated Burns. “And I think having those past chances that I wasn’t able to convert, I think, it got me ready for this moment. …
“I think I always felt that you had to play perfect golf to win. I always felt that you had to play your absolute best on a Sunday to win. And after those experiences I realized that it’s not the case. I was trying to do too much.”
The turning level got here with a birdie by Burns on the par-5 eleventh, and he broke the lead open with one other birdie at the par-5 14th, sticking a 79-yard wedge to 2 toes. He took a three-shot lead over Bradley, who had already faltered with a double bogey at the par-3 No. 13 after hitting his tee shot within the water.
The birdie at 14 was one in every of 11 on the par-5s over his 72 holes at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course. He grew to become simply the second participant since Paul Casey in 2019 to play the par-5s at 15-under at Copperhead.
Burns has been knocking on the door because the begin of this season. He shot 64-65 in his first two rounds of the season at the Safeway Open to seize a two-shot lead, however he light to a T-7 end. The Louisiana native improved to 1-for-3 on the season when holding the 54-hole lead or co-lead and 1-for-4 as a 36-hole chief.
Burns additionally grew to become the fifth participant to select up his first Tour title at the Valspar Championship and the fourth first-time winner this season. His earlier greatest profession end was third at the Genesis Invitational.
For the week, Burns totaled two eagles and 21 birdies in opposition to eight bogeys, and he ranked third in Strokes Gained: Putting (9.096 whole) and fifth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (7.638). He collected 500 FedExCup factors and moved from No. 47 to No. 14 within the standings, nonetheless, Burns will not be listed within the discipline for subsequent week’s Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C.
So, what occurred to Keegan Bradley?
World No. 135 Bradley stalled out with an even-par 71 after sharing the lead with Burns after Rounds 2 and three and through 12 holes on Sunday. Bradley got here up quick on the par-3 thirteenth, hitting an 8-iron into the water and resulting in a double bogey. Burns saved par with an 8-footer took a two-shot lead.
“I just hit a terrible shot,” Bradley stated. “I hadn’t hit a really bad shot all week and you just can’t hit it there, obviously, but you can’t hit it right of the flag. And I just came out of it a little bit, it got gobbled up by the wind. If it goes another yard, it might have been in that bunker, but it was a bummer.”
The 34-year-old, a +200 favourite coming into Sunday, was in search of his fifth profession PGA title in 273 occasions — and his first because the 2018 BMW Championship — however settled for his seventh profession runner-up end. Overall, it marked his thirteenth top-3 end and his first since a T-2 at the 2019 Travelers Championship.
Bradley famous he’s within the discipline subsequent week and hopes to maintain the momentum rolling.
“My game’s in great shape, I’m playing next week in Charlotte, I got the PGA coming up in a couple weeks,” he stated. “This is the best I’ve played in a very long time — even before I had won, even when I had won BMW — this is the best I’ve felt. … Things are really sharp, my numbers with my irons are really good. Hitting the ball great. Putting way better, chipping is better, so I’m ready. I feel like I’m ready to contend again and I got some big tournaments coming up, so I’m excited.”
Thomas T-13 regardless of horrible placing efficiency
World No. 2 Justin Thomas led the Valspar discipline in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, Approach and Tee-to-Green, however he additionally was third to final in Strokes Gained: Putting and misplaced 6.5 strokes on the greens for the second-worst placing efficiency of his profession in a T-13 end at Innisbrook.
The Valspar marked the primary time Thomas has led a event in all three classes and made him the primary participant to take action since Rory McIlroy at the 2018 BMW Championship.
Thomas, who took two weeks off following a T-21 end at the Masters, fired 4 consecutive rounds of par or higher (69-71-67-70) and closed with a 1-under 70 on Sunday to notch his eleventh top-25 end in 13 begins this season, together with a win at The Players Championship. Additionally, with an eagle at No. 1 on Sunday, Thomas joined Rod Pampling (2006) as the one different participant with three eagles in per week at the Valspar.
“I’m playing some really good golf and I’m really, really close to, I feel like, getting it going here pretty good,” stated Thomas, who overtook Bryson DeChambeau within the FedExCup standings by 30 factors. “(Moving to No. 1) is a good kind of bonus for a so-so week.”
“When I feel like I can kind of lay it off at the top and try to hit pull cuts — that’s what really was my thought at The Players — I’ve had a lot of good ball striking rounds doing that. My miss, I’m still getting a little stuck underneath it, but it’s close. My good shots are really, really good right now and the consistency is there. I just need to see a couple putts fall.”
Other notables: Lackluster end for DJ; Homa sputters
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson rebounded from a 3-over 74 on Saturday with a 2-under 69 on Sunday to complete T-48 (71-68-74-69) at Innisbrook. It marked Johnson’s sixth straight end outdoors the highest 10 — together with a missed minimize at the Masters — and he hasn’t had a prime 10 since The Genesis Invitational in February.
World No. 41 Max Homa, who began Sunday in solo third and only one shot again, briefly tied for the lead with a birdie on the par-5 opening gap however sputtered to a 3-over 74 and fell three locations to complete T-6 at 10-under 274.
The 30-year-old, who was after his third profession win and second this season after profitable the Genesis Invitational, made the minimize in his fourth look at the Valspar and improved to 13-for-18 on the season with 10 prime 25s and 4 prime 10s, along with his final coming at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (T-10).
On deck: Wells Fargo Championship
Homa will look to defend his 2019 title at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C., in opposition to a powerful discipline together with Thomas, who gained the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club.
Two-time Wells Fargo winner Rory McIlroy returns to motion for the primary time because the Masters. McIlroy set a course file in every of his victories, capturing a final-round 62 in 2010 and a third-round 61 in 2015. Other notables within the discipline embrace World No. 3 Jon Rahm, DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson, who’s play within the Wells Fargo for the seventeenth time in 18 editions. Mickelson missed the minimize in 2017 however has 12 top-12 finishes at the occasion.
Sponsor’s exemptions embrace 19-year-old Akshay Bhatia, a North Carolina native, and Wake Forest alum Will Zalatoris, who completed runner-up at the Masters and T-42 at the RBC Heritage. DJ will not be within the revealed discipline for Charlotte.