Sam Burns found a little extra to upset top-seeded Scotty Scheffler in the semifinals and just kept on rolling.
The 26-year-old Burns, seeded 13th, routed No. 15 Cameron Young, 6 and 5, in the championship match to capture what they are saying was the last World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play at Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas.
No. 3 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, after being upset by Young in the quarterfinals, sank a seven-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to defeat Scheffler in the consolation match, 2 and 1.
But Burns, who climbed to No. 10 in the World Golf Rankings, stole the day starting with his victory over Scheffler with a 14-foot birdie putt on the 21st hole.
“It was very exhausting with seven matches, but it was a great week and this has been a great tournament, and I really wanted to win the last one, so it was nice to pull it off,” said Burns, who claimed his fifth PGA Tour victory. “It was a blast competing against all the best players in the world in one place this week.
“Scottie is always tough to play against because he has such great stuff, and I got off to a good start against him, but I knew he would come back and he did. So I had to find a little extra just to get back into the match and go to extra holes, which I was able to do. It was great to make that (winning) putt on No. 14.
“And it was fun playing Cam today in the final. I know he didn’t have his best stuff, but it was a great match. I mean, I feel like I got off to a pretty good start because I felt like I kind of found something at the end of my match this morning with Scottie, and I was able to carry that on this afternoon.”
Young took an early lead in the final when Burns made his only bogey of the match on the second hole, but then Burns collected eight birdies on the last 10 holes to blow the match wide open.
With only three birdies, Young had no answer.
“I played really well all week, but then I ran into Sam Burns today and he was playing like the No. 1 player in the world,” said Young, the 2021-22 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year who has yet to win on the circuit despite finishing second six times, including in the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews.
“Beating Rory is special because he’s obviously one of the best of his generation, if not the best, and one of the best players in the world right now. So any time you get to go out and play 19 holes with him, it’s a lot of fun and I was just thankful to get it done.
“But Sam was just too much for me today.”
Young sank an eight-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to force the playoff with McIlroy in the semifinals and then hit a great approach shot to within 10 feet, and made that putt for another birdie.
When McIlroy missed his birdie putt from nine feet, the match was over.
“They call it the consolation match for a reason, but still I’m glad to win it against the No. 1-ranked player in the world,” said McIlroy, who can complete the Career Grand Slam by winning the Masters in two weeks. “I had to regroup to play Scottie after Sam got me this morning.
“I feel so much better about my game than I did a few weeks ago so I’m happy about that, but there are still things I have to work on in addition to making sure I’m rested to be ready to give it my best shot at Augusta.”
Said Scheffler: “I played pretty solid most of the day. I had a lot of good putts that, I mean, I hit a bunch of lips today. Especially toward the end of the round (against Burns) I hit a lot of putts that I thought were going in that didn’t. And then I hit some good shots in the playoff there, a great birdie on 18, and then I missed a shorty there on No. 13 in the playoff. (Burns) had it a little higher than I did, and I went with my instincts and it turns out it wasn’t enough break. It’s a bit frustrating, but I put up a good fight today.
“It was such a quick turnaround after the playoff, and that’s no excuse for playing badly. I mean, we’re professionals. We show up and we’re supposed to play well. And I’m a competitive guy and I snapped back into it when I was I think 3-down through five. So it was good to fight back, but just couldn’t hole the putts this week.
“It’s been a fun three years for this tournament for me and I’m sad that it won’t be back.”
Scheffler was the defending champion this week in the WGC-Dell Match play and also will be in the Masters.
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