2021 Valspar Championship leaderboard, grades: Sam Burns pulls away for first PGA Tour victory - CBSSports.com
May 03, 2021 3 mins, 45 secs

The list is not massive, but Sam Burns has a legitimate claim to "best American golfer in the world without a PGA Tour win." Well ...

Burns took the 2021 Valspar Championship over Keegan Bradley and a stocked field on Sunday at Innisbrook Resort by firing an impressive 3-under 68 over the last 18 holes to finish at a near-tournament-tying record 17 under on the week.

Burns came into the final round tied with Bradley at 14 under, but after some early back and forth, the tide turned for good on the 13th hole.

Bradley hit an iron into the water on the difficult par-3 13th, took double, and after Burns birdied the 14th to take a three-stroke lead with four to go, that was pretty much a wrap on his first PGA Tour victory?

So who is Sam Burns, and why was he -- at least theoretically -- the best American golfer in the world without a PGA Tour win.

"I wouldn't really say [not winning the Genesis] was a failure," said Burns this week.

"I think every opportunity is something you can learn from, and so I think for me it's not a matter of winning or losing, it's a matter of going out there and seeing what the golf course is going to teach me that day, see what golf is going to teach me that day.".

Though he has faded a bit from the lead at various PGA Tour events in his career, he moved toward it following a 67-63 start at the Copperhead Couse at Innisbrook Resort this week.

It seems intuitive, but talk to anyone on Tour, and it is not. .

Afterward, Burns alluded to some of early-in-the-year failure and said when he hit the back nine, he was trying to stay in his process and not get out over his skis.

It was a veteran-like march toward his first (of probably several) PGA Tour wins in his 76th start.

Toss in some good putting, a recent history of learning what it takes late in an event and a pedigree that portends a healthy amount of winning over the course of your career, and you get what took place on Sunday at Innisbrook: a fantastic, clutch, emotional first win for Sam Burns.

Sam Burns and his family talk with @Amanda_Balionis after his win at the @ValsparChamp.

Max Homa (T6): I've changed my view of Homa more than anyone else on the PGA Tour since Jan, 1?

He's gone from solid PGA Tour pro to legit contender in every tournament he plays, a role he said he's reacquainting himself with.

"It's funny, it's 10 or so years ago ...

I used to do this a decent amount in college, and when I first turned pro, I was comfortable in these positions," said Homa.

Obviously the golf game can fluctuate, but I just feel like my head's in a good spot week-to-week, and when I put myself in a spot like I have this week, I just feel ready and comfortable and just kind of accepting what happens.".

would have finished better this week if he'd simply played every shot from tee to green and then let Si Woo Kim putt with his 3-wood like Kim did at the Masters earlier this year.

If I'm putting well this week, I'm winning this tournament without question," Thomas said on Saturday. .

won the 2017 PGA Championship there, and if he hits it like he did this week and putts even close to field average, he'll win another (slightly less important) trophy in seven days. Grade: B.

He has some time to find it before the PGA Championship in less than three weeks, and I worry much less about him than probably anyone else on the PGA Tour, but he doesn't have that "I'm the best player alive" stuff right now.

Have a question for the first-time TOUR winner.

Sam Burns and his family talk with @Amanda_Balionis after his win at the @ValsparChamp!

What a special victory for Sam Burns 🙌.

What a special victory for Sam Burns 🙌.

Sam Burns kicks the door down and gets his first PGA Tour title.

Keith Mitchell lost 8.92 strokes putting in round four

Suddenly Keegan Bradley and Sam Burns are right back where they started the third round: tied at the top and four clear of everyone else

Keegan Bradley FOR THE LEAD 👏

He's up 1 stroke on Burns, and it's probably just those two for this trophy (which, I believe, is a paintbrush)

Keegan has now gained 1.5 strokes putting today so far in his round

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