Ruston resident Sam Burns drained a 23-foot putt on the 18th hole Sunday that ultimately earned him a tie for the lead and a spot in a three-way playoff at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational, but a shorter try on the same green about a half-hour later lipped out and ended the tournament.
Narrowly missing his second PGA Tour victory this season, and in his young pro career, Burns fired a six-under-par 64 in the final round of the World Golf Championship event at TPC Southland in Memphis to earn his place in the playoff with Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and eventual winner Abraham Ancer.
All three golfers had par 4 scores on the 18th in the first extra hole. Playing the 18th again, Matsuyama settled for a par after his 30-foot birdie try was just wide to the left. Ancer sank a six-foot birdie putt, but Burns was unable to connect on a 5 ½ -footer as it dipped around the right edge of the cup and popped out behind the hole.
That cost Burns a chance to face Ancer on a third playoff hole. Ancer pocketed the top prize of $1,820,00 while Burns and Matsuyama each collected $917,500.
Burns hit eight of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens in regulation in his blistering final round. He sank birdie putts of 14, 24 and 23 feet to highlight his day. He began Sunday tied for 11th.
Burns, a Shreveport native and former college player of the year while at LSU, plays out of Squire Creek Golf Club in Choudrant. The 25-year-old won the Valspar Championship May 2 with a 17-under par score, prevailing by three shots.
Sunday’s outcome moved Burns into 10th in the PGA Tour’s Fed Ex Cup standings with 1,721 points, ahead of Matsuyama (14th), Brooks Koepka (15th) and Dustin Johnson (17th), among several major champions.
With one tournament left, next weekend’s Wyndham Championship, Burns is in the Comcast Business Tour Top 10. If he maintains or improves that position, he’ll pick up a hefty bonus heading into the FedEx Cup playoffs beginning Labor Day Weekend with the Northern Trust Classic.
He’s made the cut in 20 of 23 events this year, is averaging 69.8 strokes per round, and has earned a total of $4.77 million in prize money. He’s had six top 10 finishes.
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