Sam Burns joins a cavalcade of colonial champions, winning the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge in the playoff

FORT WORTH, Texas — Colonial Country Club players are greeted by the Wall of Champions as they step onto the first tee. You’ll be quick to spot the names of golf legends like Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan on the list of players who have mastered the 1936 Perry Maxwell design at least once in their professional careers.

Sam Burns is the latest ensemble to have his name engraved on that wall – a custom 1979 Pontiac Firebird and a $1.5 million salary also on hand – after coming back from seven strokes to win the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge in one kill. sudden playoff against world number 1 Scottie Scheffler. It came just a week after Justin Thomas used the same unlikely but successful formula to win the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills.

Burns, sitting 4-under after three rounds, started 85 minutes before Scheffler entered the course as a 54-hole leader. With 90 minutes before a playoff finally took place, DataGolf gave Burns less than a 10% chance of winning. But Burns’ starting position turned out to be an advantage as he managed to card 5 under 65, while those involved in the final times saw Colonial’s teeth in full force with winds up to 32 mph during the round.

When Scheffler and Burns reached the par-4 green in 18th for the first hole of the playoffs, Burns still had more magic in his pocket despite the extended cooldown period. Burns, after getting his approach right for too long, landed a 38-foot birdie putt from the back of the green, while Scheffler scored par, giving Burns his fourth PGA Tour win in his last 28 games.

“I imagined how difficult it would be to play, that if I went out and posted a really good number, [anything] It can happen,” Burns said. “Scottie has been playing unbelievably. I mean it’s just a really tough golf course with a lot of wind and crazy things happen and luckily I managed to get into a playoff and obviously make that shot there on the 18th.”

In doing so, Burns denied Scheffler, who entered Sunday with a two-stroke lead, of what would have been an impressive fifth win this season before June 1. No golfer has achieved this feat since Tom Watson in 1980, although Scheffler seemed poised to end this drought.

But the Charles Schwab Challenge was certainly that – a challenge – as the blustery conditions created for the highest scoring event at the Colonial since Adam Scott won 9-under in 2014. Those winds eased briefly on Friday to provide prime scoring conditions. , but low rounds were premium for much of the tournament where mother nature was more disruptive in the final two days.

The numbers in the red were few and far between among those entering Saturday’s contest. Eight of the 10 players in the final five groups of the day performed better than expected in the third round. Only Scheffler was under par within that group on Saturday, after dazzling with several shots in and around the greens, including a 30-foot downhill birdie on the par-4 18.

“It’s hard when the wind blows so hard,” Scheffler said of the greens on Saturday. “As in [the 18th], I’m putting it downhill, but straight into the wind. And depending on what kind of flurry I have, it’s going to move the ball a lot on the pitch.”

Scheffler proved to be somewhat prophetic on Sunday as Saturday’s scoring conditions and trends persisted, sometimes enough to generate carnage near or at the top of the leaderboard. Sunday marked the first time Scheffler played a round without carding a birdie in 2022, although he was not without a series of main shots to stay in contention despite a 2-over 72.

Burns echoed Scheffler’s comments about the Greens’ challenges after emerging as the winner.

“You see these guys miss these short shots… it’s not that they’re nervous,” Burns said. “It’s hard when the wind is blowing at 30 miles an hour. It’s moving the golf balls across the lawn. That’s the hardest part – just because you’re laying up there in two shots and you have [a 3-foot putt]it’s not just going out there and brushing. It will have your full attention.”

Just ask Harold Varner III, who stepped onto the 12th tee sharing the lead with 10 under. Varner triple bogeyed that hole after four shots from 16 feet. It was the first of four holes that Varner scored double-bogey or worse on the final seven holes, when a back-nine 45 sunk him out of contention to a T27 with equal parity in the blink of an eye.

Varner wasn’t the only one to see things slip away quickly, either. Rookie Riley Davis took the lead at 11 under after six birdies on his first 11 holes only to return a shot with a bogey on the par-3 13 before an out-of-bounds tee shot on the par-4 14 headed for a double-bogey that took him out of the lead forever. Davis recovered a 1-under 69 for a T4, but it was disappointing.

By then, Burns had known that sharing a meal with his family members at the Colonial club was the safest place he could be before reaching the practice area, as a playoff seemed imminent. Burns almost didn’t need that playoff for his triumph, as Scheffler drained a 6-foot putt on the 72nd hole, anything but a gimme, to force the playoff.

“I can assure you I didn’t envy them while they were out there playing [after I finished]”, said Burns. “Not that it was… [it] it didn’t feel like it was blowing any less than we were outside. It was just one of those things when you’re finally done, you’re ready to be done. But at the same time, [I] kind of thinking maybe [I] could sneak into a playoff. [I] I thought [10 under] was going to be the number, but it turned out to be [9 under].”

Burns made the most of this opportunity to become the newest winner on the oldest active stop on the PGA Tour calendar. And with the spoils of winning at Colonial comes only a growing boost and confidence for the 25-year-old entering the summer months that include majors with the US Open in Brookline and The Open Championship in St. Andrew’s.

The last round at Colonial is one where the event often felt important as many top names succumbed to challenging conditions. And Burns, despite that, managed to stay on his feet in the end.

“It felt like a big championship kind of thing, where you’re going to have those stretches where it’s really tough,” Burns said. “But the way we were able to get the ball into position and get it here at 5 under today, I thought [that] It was a really good score.”

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