Golf Asia

Valspar Championsh­ip

Burns Outduels Bradley For The Big Win

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Sam Burns outdueled fellow American Keegan Bradley over the back nine to win the Valspar Championsh­ip and capture his first US PGA Tour title. He fired a final-round threeunder par 68 to finish 72 holes on 17-under 267 and defeat Bradley by three strokes.

World number 94 Burns, whose prior PGA career best was third at Riviera in February, had been a leader after 36 and 54 holes in prior events but had never managed a victory until now. “Those moments in the past, they just test you and you learn a lot from them,” Burns said. Coming down the back nine, Travis and I just tried to stick to our process. In the past, I got away from that. Today I was focused on that.”

Burns finished 15-under for the week on the course’s par-5 holes, including three birdies on Sunday.

Bradley, winner of the 2011 PGA Championsh­ip, missed a chance for his fifth US PGA victory and first since the 2018 BMW Championsh­ip. “I just didn’t hit the shots I needed coming down the end, but I’m proud of the way I finished off to come in solo second,” Bradley said.

Both matched the 54-hole course record to put themselves in Sunday’s final pairing and the title chase was basically a two-man fight.

They both opened with birdies while Burns added a five-foot birdie putt at the second to grab the lead alone at 16-under. Bradley stumbled back with a bogey on the third hole but birdied the par-5 fifth and par-4 sixth, dropping approaches inside four and eight feet respective­ly, to again share the lead.

Curling in a 26-foot birdie putt at the par-4 seventh, Burns then made bogey at the par-3 eighth. Bradley responded with his third birdie in five holes, sinking a 16foot putt at the par-4 ninth to grab the lead at 17-under.

At the par-5 11th, Burns was left into trees and Bradley way right, but both punched out short of the green and while

Bradley saved par, Burns made a 15-foot birdie putt to share the lead again.

Both were deadlocked for the lead at 17-under with six holes remaining after Bradley curled in a tense six-foot par putt at the 12th. Bradley then plunked his tee shot into the water at the par-3 13th on the way to a double bogey while Burns sank a testy eight-foot par putt to seize a two-stroke lead.

Dropping his approach inches from the cup at the par-5 14th, Burns made birdie to reach 18-under and lead by three with four holes to play.

Bradley missed a four-foot par putt at the par-3 15th to stay three adrift after a Burns bogey, then Burns sank an 18-foot birdie putt at the par-4 16th to stretch his lead to four shots, a fist pump his first sign of the emotions within.

A closing bogey kept Burns from matching the 72-hole tournament record of 18-under 266 set by Fiji’s Vijay Singh in 2004.

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