JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Sam Burns ran off four birdies in a six-hole stretch to start the back nine and pulled away for a 5-under 67 to win the Sanderson Farms Championship on Sunday for his second PGA Tour victory this year.
Against a list of contenders looking for their first win, Burns showed what it takes at the Country Club of Jackson by playing flawlessly on the back nine until it didn’t matter.
He seized control with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-3 13th, a 5-iron to 15 feet that set up a two-putt birdie on the next hole and then a perfect pitch from behind the green on the reachable par-4 15th for a tap-in birdie.
Staked to a two-shot lead going down the 18th, he took a safe bogey from the greenside bunker to secure a one-shot win over resurgent Nick Watney and PGA Tour rookie Cameron Young.
Watney, coming off his worst season in more than a decade, closed with a 65 and had his best finish in more than three years.
Young’s hopes began to fade on the 14th with a clunker out of the rough into a fairway bunker that led to him having to make a 4-footer for bogey.
Still, he made a slick up-and-down from off the 18th green for par that gave him a 68 and a share of second, which sets him up well for the season. That starts with playing next week in Las Vegas instead of having to go through Monday qualifying.
“I love being in contention, I love feeling the nerves, so it was fun today. I enjoyed it, even though it might not have looked like it,” Young said. “I knew Sam was ahead of me and I had to make a couple and just didn’t, but I will another time.”
Sahith Theegala, the California rookie who began the final round with a one-shot lead, had control of the final round until he reached the back nine.
He failed to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker on the par-3 10th, missing a 7-foot putt. With a 7-iron in his hand for his second to the par-5 11th, he leaked the shot to the…
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