Sunday's golf: Burns beats Riley in playoff for 2nd straight Valspar win

Associated Press

Palm Harbor, Fla. — Sam Burns is a winner again in the Valspar Championship, this time with a lot more stress and plenty of more emotion.

Burns holed a birdie putt from just over 30 feet on the 16th hole to beat Davis Riley on the second playoff hole, giving him three PGA Tour victories in his last 22 starts.

Sam Burns reacts after making a birdie putt in a playoff to win during the final round of the Valspar Championship.

Burns, who closed with a 2-under 69 to match Riley at 17-under 267, is the second straight back-to-back winner at Innisbrook following Paul Casey’s consecutive wins in 2018 and 2019. The tournament was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.

The victory moves Burns to No. 10 in the world for the first time, knocking Dustin Johnson out of the top 10 for the first time in seven years. Burns won last year by three shots.

Riley, a rookie contending for the first time on the PGA Tour, overcame a triple bogey on the par-5 fifth hole with a clutch 5-iron for birdie on the par-3 17th. He had a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th for the win and left it out to the right, closing with a 72.

David Riley hits from the sand trap on the third green during the final round of the Valspar Championship golf tournament Sunday, March 20, 2022, at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Both made pars on the 18th in the playoff, with Riley saving par from a front bunker. Neither looked to be in great birdie position on the 16th until Burns’ putt caught the left edge and went 180 degrees around the cup before falling in the back side. Riley hit a strong pitch needing to hole it to extend the playoff and missed long.

Justin Thomas (70) and Matthew NeSmith (71) finished a shot out of the playoff.

EUROPEAN TOUR

Shaun Norris of South Africa lost a four-shot lead in the final round and then rallied at the end to close with a 2-under 70 to hold off Dean Burmester in the Steyn City Championship for his first European Tour title.

Burmester stormed into the lead with a birdie on the par-5 sixth and then an eagle on the par-4 seventh, and stretched his lead to two shots with a birdie on the 10th.

Norris answered with three birdies on his next six holes, and they were tied going to the 17th. Norris made a fourth birdie on the back nine as Burmester took double bogey, and the three-shot swing gave Norris some breathing room going to the last.

Norris finished at 25-under 263 for his 10th worldwide title.

Burmester closed with a 69.

The tournament also was sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour.