In the BMW Championship, Sam Burns is stable again

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Sam Burns, who won his first PGA Tour tournament in May, birdied two on his first four holes in the first round of t...


OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Sam Burns, who won his first PGA Tour tournament in May, birdied two on his first four holes in the first round of the BMW Championship on Thursday. It was a good start for Burns, a lesser-known tour pro who competed alongside the galaxy of top golfers at the tournament, which is the second of three FedEx Cup playoff events.

But on the fifth hole, Burns, 25, started playing with exceptional power and a skillful touch on the greens. Burns, who was named the nation’s top varsity player in 2017 while in the state of Louisiana, drove the fifth green par 4 for 310 yards, then let his eagle putt underwhelming 12 feet from the hole.

Unperturbed, Burns sank the birdie putt to take an early lead at Caves Valley Golf Club in suburban Baltimore. Burns, who rose to 25th in the men’s world rankings with a Valspar championship victory this spring and three more finishes in third place or better, then bet on his early start, taking the tournament lead with five birdies. and eight pars in his last 13 holes for a bogey-less round of eight under par 64.

Late in Thursday’s round, Burns was joined eight-under par by Rory McIlroy. Reigning event champion Jon Rahm also clocked eight birdies without a bogey for a 64 that was tied for the lead.

This is the first PGA Tour event held in Caves Valley and the tour’s first event in the Baltimore area since 1962. Thursday’s round was held in sweltering temperatures in the low 90s, which made it worse the steep elevation changes of the course and the upside down topography which was a challenge to navigate for players and caddies. Burns saw the unfamiliar landscape as a potential advantage.

“I kinda like it, maybe we can shoot something different on the course that the other players haven’t,” he said. “These are big greens with a lot of slope and if you are in the wrong spot you can have a 20-foot putt with a six-foot break which is difficult to handle.

“I think I did a good job today in not putting the ball in the wrong place on the greens.”

What Burns did most of the time was roll his golf ball in the hole, wherever it was on the putting surface. He sank a six-foot birdie on the seventh hole and a four-foot one to save par after a brilliant bunker shot on the green at No.8. At the 11th hole, his approach shot from 115 yards rolled to 10 feet from the hole. , leading to another birdie. At the 12th par 5, Burns’ tee shot nearly landed in a pond and his second shot missed the green, but he made a pitch within seven feet of the hole, then sank a putt for the second of four. consecutive birdies.

“I was calm and felt very prepared which helps when you stand on those putts,” Burns said. “Once they start to let go, it makes it easier for the next one and the next. But above all, I think having a good game plan made all the difference.

Burns has now shot 64 in four of his last eight rounds on the PGA Tour dating back to early August. He laughed when the statistic was mentioned to him.

“Well, yeah obviously I wish I could shoot 64 every day,” he said. “But that just doesn’t happen. I think the most important thing for me, especially this week with the heat and humidity, I just need to be rested, hydrated and focused there. I think that’s the challenge.

Burns had a plan to keep his advantage under the conditions.

“I’m just taking a nap this afternoon,” he said.

If Burns can continue his current stellar game and claim the FedEx Cup playoff title, which would net him $ 15 million, he could be a contender for the US 12-player Ryder Cup squad that will be named to play. after next week’s season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta. Burns is currently 17th in the U.S. Ryder Cup rankings. Team USA captain Steve Stricker will make six caps while the top six players in the standings – based on a points system tied to recent results – will automatically qualify. An avid golfer, even if he lacks experience in the international game, is always a temptation for a Ryder Cup captain.

“Captain Stricker can go any route he wants, so it’s not necessarily all in my control,” Burns said Thursday. “I’m just going to go out and try to play the best golf possible. If it works, it’s amazing. If not, I will support the team hard.

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Newsrust - US Top News: In the BMW Championship, Sam Burns is stable again
In the BMW Championship, Sam Burns is stable again
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