The Winner Sam Burns
Wrapping Up the Valspar Championship final coat: Sam Burns, the former LSU All-American, is a first-time winner on the PGA TOUR after outdueling Keegan Bradley in the final round of the 2021 Valspar Championship.
Tied with Bradley for the lead after both the second and third rounds, Bradley held a one-shot lead that appeared likely to grow when Burns hit his drive well left on the 11th hole. But it was Burns, not Bradley, who birdied the 11th to forge a tie. The big swing then came on the par-three 13th when Bradley’s tee shot found the water on the way to his double bogey. Burns survived the Snake Pit and kept a multi-shot lead thereafter. He finished with a three-shot advantage over Bradley, although a bogey at the final hole left him at 17 under par, one-shot shy of the tournament record set by Vijay Singh in 2004.
Wrapping Up the Valspar Championship, Burns would be a winner on the PGA TOUR came as no surprise to anyone who has followed his career. In 2018, he was 12th at the Valspar just months after turning pro and a number of other outstanding results followed. His career arc was set back by a broken ankle in 2019, but recently he has been a prominent figure, leading after rounds eight times this season before Sunday.
Eight times this season, Sam Burns has been atop the leaderboard after every round except the one that mattered. That changed, finally, at the Valspar Championship. This was the third time he had at least shared the lead after three rounds. In February, he was one shot shy of a playoff at the Genesis Invitational.
“Those moments in the past, you really learn a lot,” Burns said. “This week coming down the stretch, I tried to stick to our process. Man, what a fun day and I’m really glad that we were able to get it done.”
The victory earns Burns his first trip to the Masters. He is now 41st in the Official World Golf Ranking and likely to qualify for the U.S. Open as well.
The Valspar Tournament was played with a limited number of spectators, although the galleries did seem quite substantial at times. “We are thrilled that we were able to be a steppingstone on the return to full galleries,” says Tournament Director Tracy West. “We heard from quite a few of the players how much they enjoyed being back with fans. Thank you to all our fans and sponsors for their understanding and support.”
Valspar Tournament Notes: Burns, 24, is the 2nd-youngest winner in tournament history (Jordan Spieth, 2015) … Cameron Tringale finished 3rd, tied with Viktor Hovland. With $407,100 in winnings, he now has won more money on the PGA TOUR without a victory than any other golfer, more than $13 million in his career…Louis Oosthuizen, a runner-up in the last Valspar in 2019, finished 8th this year. He was the only member of the top 10 in 2019 to repeat…Paul Casey did not win his third consecutive Valspar. The 2018 and ’19 champ finished tied for 21st and 5 under par…Justin Thomas tied for 13th at -7 and in the process passed Bryson DeChambeau to take over the lead in the FedExCup standings…With different conditions in April-May than the usual March dates, including negligible wind, scoring was a bit lower on the Copperhead than in recent years at 70.96 which is the 3rd-lowest in tournament history…That, and a larger field size, proved beneficial to the tournament’s charitable mission through its Birdies for Tampa Bay Charities program. The 1,408 total birdies were the most since 2012…Speaking of March, the Valspar Championship will be returning to that month in 2022. Next year’s dates are March 14-20.
Read more about the Daily Outcomes here. Content provided by the Valspar Championship, FKQ, and the PGA Tour. All photos are for editorial use only. All rights reserved. (Feature photo above by Sam Burns watches his tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the Valspar Championship golf tournament, Sunday, May 2, 2021, in Palm Harbor, Florida. Photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack).