Sam Burns Win Valspar Championship
Photo: Tampa Bay Times

Sam Burns successfully defended his Valspar Championship title. He overcame a final-round battle with Justin Thomas and a spectacular comeback from Davis Riley.

Burns rallied from a three-stroke deficit on the final day at the Innisbrook Resort in Florida, shooting a two-under 69 with three birdies and a lone bogey to set the clubhouse target at 17 under.

Burns finished with a 2-under 69. It was in command until he needed to make a 9-foot putt for bogey to stay in front. Riley, who had regained his composure after a triple bogey on the par-5 fifth hole. He birdied the 17th with a 5-iron to 6 feet.

Riley won with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th. Sam Burns stood at a safe distance, hoping for an opportunity to play golf. Burns was a winner again two holes later after his putt went right. After pars on the first two playoff holes, the duo moved on to the treacherous 16th. Riley’s approach was 28 feet from the pin, while Burns’ was 33 feet.

Burns, who was in the group ahead of him, missed a six-foot birdie opportunity at the fourth. But holed from a similar distance at the next to take a brief lead. Riley pitched in from off the eighth green to share the lead at the turn.

Both of the players looked destined for additional pars and another hole. Burns, on the other hand, buried it and gave his caddie a fist pump that said, “We’re going to see this at the Ryder Cup at some point in the near future.”

Burns’ victory is his third on the PGA Tour in the last 12 months. It will propel him into the world’s top 10 for the first time in his career. He will join Paul Casey as the only player to win back-to-back Valspar Championships.

After back-to-back bogeys on the sixth and seventh, NeSmith rolled in a 15-footer from the fringe to reach the turn one behind, while Burns took the lead with back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th.

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Burns holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the next hole, and Thomas was suddenly four strokes behind. To stay in the game, he made two straight birdies and had a chance when Burns made bogey on the 17th. However, Thomas’ tee shot went into the slope of a bunker on the right side of the 18th, and he was unable to reach the green.

This week on the PGA Tour, the top 64 eligible players compete in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, which begins on Wednesday, and others compete in the Corales Puntacana Championship in the Dominican Republic.

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