Not getting Ryder Cup pick helped motivate me to second PGA Tour title: Sam Burns

by | Oct 4, 2021 | 0 comments

Sam Burns reacts after winning on the 18th green during the final round of the Sanderson Farms Championship at Country Club of Jackson (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Adam McKendry

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He didn’t watch a lot of it, but Sam Burns admitting getting a call from US Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker to say he wasn’t on the team at Whistling Straits spurred him on to win his second PGA Tour title at the Sanderson Farms Championship.
Surrounded by a large group of players looking to claim their maiden Tour titles, it was the 25-year-old from Florida who used his experience to come out on top at the Country Club of Jackson, shooting a five-under 65 on Sunday to win by one from Nick Watney and Cameron Young at 22-under.
It was a run of four birdies in five holes just after the turn that did it for Burns, who has six top-10 finishes this year after adding this crown to the Valspar Championship he won earlier in the year and is set to break into the world’s top-20 for the first time in his career.

“I watched a little bit (of the Ryder Cup), I didn’t really watch much, to be honest. I don’t necessarily watch a lot of golf,” admitted Burns.

“But, yeah, I think getting the call from Stricker on Monday and hearing the news that I didn’t make the team was definitely very motivating and definitely kind of gut wrenching. I think it definitely motivated me to try to be on the next team and continue to try to improve and hopefully be on it the next go.”
When asked how much his Valspar win and other top-10 finishes helped him close it out in Jackson, Burns added: “I think last year having those experiences around the lead, I think those were really important for me, I learned a lot.
“Having that under my belt today, that experience was definitely helpful, and coming down the stretch I felt a lot different than I have in the past and, not necessarily more confident but just in a better state of mind and thinking process was much better. So, yeah, those experiences definitely helped.”

Starting the day one back in Mississippi, it was a largely safe front nine for Burns, who had three birdies and one bogey to keep in touch with overnight leader Sahith Theegala, the rookie picking up three birdies of his own before the ninth to extend his lead to two.
Cameron Tringale and Denny McCarthy, who had both started the final day on the same score as Burns, were still hanging around at that stage at 19-under and 18-under respectively, but both would fall away badly on the back nine to finish well down the leaderboard.
And the same fate would befall Theegala who, as soon as it looked like he was on track for a maiden win, ran into difficulties with three bogeys in four holes immediately after the turn dropping him out of contention and opening the door for Burns to walk through.
The World No.25 responded clinically by putting together his fine run of four birdies in five holes from the 11th to 15th to hit the front on his own at 23-under and at that stage a solid stretch back to the clubhouse would do it for him.
Ahead of him, Watney had already set the mark in the clubhouse at 21-under but that would prove to be one too many, which was the same for Young when he failed to birdie the 18th, leaving Burns able to bogey his final hole and still post the winning score.
Watney was looking for his first PGA Tour win since 2012 but had to be content with his best finish since 2018, with Sweden’s Henrik Norlander producing a fine eight-under 68 to share fourth with American trio Hayden Buckley, Andrew Landry and Trey Mullinax at 20-under.

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