6: 40 PM ET
PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Sam Burns figured all these cease calls would in the raze sing him how to perceive on the PGA Tour.
Twice this season, he had the 54-hole lead and did now not convert. Six various times, he used to be atop the leaderboard on the discontinue of a round, appropriate never the round that mattered — Sunday’s.
That changed, in the raze, on the Valspar Championship. And the lesson used to be now not what he anticipated.
“I gradually felt that you just needed to play ultimate golf to perceive,” Burns said after a 3-under 68 for a 3-shot victory. “I gradually felt that you just needed to play your absolute most efficient on a Sunday to perceive. And after these experiences, I seen that it be now not the case. I used to be attempting to total too worthy.”
He did unbiased sufficient — and obtained some reduction from Keegan Bradley.
Tied for the lead with six holes to play, Bradley hit an 8-iron quick and into the water for a double bogey on the par-3 13th hole, and Burns set him away with two huge birdies and a social gathering he had motive to feel used to be an awfully very long time coming.
Burns used to be all smiles bobbing up the 18th hole with a four-shot lead, and he used to be combating assist tears when his wife, folks and various household spilled onto the golf green after he won.
“I’ve labored so exhausting for this moment,” Burns said. “They’ve all sacrificed so worthy.”
The victory strikes him to No. 44 on this planet and all however assures the 24-year-gentle from Louisiana a residing in the U.S. Initiate, alongside alongside with his first time out to the Masters subsequent spring.
Bradley and Burns were tied through 36 holes and 54 holes, and they also stayed that draw through 12 holes on one other blistering day on the Copperhead direction at Innisbrook.
That changed with one swing.
Bradley came up effectively quick on the par-3 13th and went into the water, ensuing in double bogey. Burns saved par with an 8-foot putt for a two-shot lead.
“I appropriate hit a bad shot,” Bradley said. “I hadn’t hit a terribly cross shot all week, and likewise you appropriate can now not hit it there, obviously, however you must per chance well well now not hit it correct of the flag. And I appropriate came out of it pretty of bit; it obtained wolfed up by the wind. If it goes one other yard, it might per chance well were in that bunker, on the opposite hand it used to be a bummer.”
Burns used to be three photos forward through 13 holes on Saturday, and he struggled to retain a share of the lead, so he knew what used to be doubtless. This time, though, Bradley had no likelihood.
Bradley needed to set up from the rough on the par-5 14th, and Burns did now not get time to peep his subsequent shot. His caddie, Travis Perkins, decided for him.
“We’re walking over to the ball and Travis says, ‘Tree’s on your draw; we’re laying up.’ And I’m cherish, ‘Neatly, what about this and that?’ And he’s cherish, ‘Nope, you obtained 180 to this number correct there, it be a ultimate 7-iron, that is your line,”’ Burns said.
He hit lob wedge to a foot for birdie and used to be on his draw.
“He is aware of that I’m gradually attempting to meander pedal down. after which in that scenario, that appropriate wasn’t the play,” Burns said. “A year up to now, he do now not get performed that, and this present day, he did. And it be realistic one of many causes that we were ready to perceive this present day.”
He had motive to deem this moment might per chance well well also get advance sooner. Burns wasted an correct launch on the season-opening Safeway Initiate. He closed with a 2-over 72 to tie for seventh in the Houston Initiate. He misplaced a two-shot lead at Riviera, bobbing up one shot searching a playoff.
“Those moments in the previous, you undoubtedly be taught plenty,” Burns said.
He set Bradley away with an 18-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole and a uncommon demonstrate of emotion, slamming his fist after it dropped. He had a four-shot lead with two holes to play, the water and worst of the hazards in the assist of him.
No one else had worthy of a bet.
Max Homa temporarily tied for the lead with a birdie on the par-5 opening hole. He did now not form one other birdie the relaxation of the day, lacking just a few potentialities around the flip and ending his hopes with a double bogey on the par-3 15th without hitting into the water. He shot 74.
Cameron Tringale used to be lurking however never seriously challenged. He shot 68 and shared third with Viktor Hovland, who had a 65 however started too a long way assist initially of the day.
Abraham Ancer (69) accomplished fifth.
Burns built a handy e book a rough, two-shot lead on the front 9 on Sunday. Bradley answered with a pair of birdies then made a 15-foot birdie putt from the perimeter on No. 9 to decide on a one-shot lead to the assist 9.
Burns caught him with a birdie on the 11th. The relaxation of the day, he wasn’t ultimate. He did now not must be to perceive.