Sam Burns teed off on Sunday seven shots behind leader and world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, but when his 38-foot putt dropped on the first playoff hole, he was the champion of the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Burns’ seven stroke deficit ties Nick Price in 1994 for the largest comeback in the illustrious history of the prestigious PGA Tour event held annually at Colonial Country Club.
Burns posted 9-under after his final round 65 and waited around for over two hours to see if his clubhouse lead would hold up as the afternoon wave dealt with the blustery winds in Fort Worth. When Scheffler got up-and-down for par from the left greenside bunker, it set up the playoff between the two close friends.
Just starting the day seven back — you know, coming into today, I figured with how tough it was going to be playing that if I went out and posted a really good number, who knows what can happen,” Burns said. “Scottie has been playing unbelievable. I mean, it’s just a really hard golf course with a lot of wind and crazy things happen, and fortunately I was able to sneak into a playoff and obviously make that putt there on 18.”
Burns, ranked No. 10 in the world, moved up to No. 2 in the Fed Ex Cup rankings with his win at Colonial.
“We’re probably best friends. But at the same time I can assure you, he wanted to beat me more than anybody else and I wanted to beat him more than anybody else, and it just happened to be the two of us at the end,” Burns continued. “Yeah, it’s going to be a fun story that we’ll get to have for the rest of our careers, and fortunately I got the better end of it this time, but hopefully we’re at the beginning of these situations in the future.”
In addition to the $1.51 million first prize, Burns also takes home a a custom-built 1979 Schwab Firebird Trans Am. The custom cars have become a staple since Charles Schwab took over sponsorship of the long-running event in 2012.
Scheffler led the first three rounds and made only his second and third bogeys of the entire tournament on Sunday en route to a 2-over 72 that put him in the playoff with Burns.
“The wind was very high. It was very tough out there. It was tough to get looks, and then the greens, it started moving around late in the day,” Scheffler said. “With the gusts as high as they were, it was really difficult to putt them. But I gave myself a lot of looks. I just didn’t have it today. Props to Sam; he played great. I don’t know what he shot today, maybe 4-, 5-under? Whatever it was, it was a great round.”
This was Scheffler’s first round as a PGA Tour pro that he did not have a birdie.
Brendon Todd played alongside Scheffler in the final pairing and had a share of the lead, but bogeys on Nos. 11 and 12 took him to 8-under. He would finish in third.
“It was a great week,” Todd said. “This is my favorite course on TOUR. It’s a place I feel like I can contend, and I’ve done that again. I lost by two in ’14 and one today. It’s tough because I feel like if I had just a couple things go my way today, I would have been the clear winner. It’s definitely disappointing. But my game feels good, so I feel like it was definitely a huge positive step in the right direction, and looking forward to having a good summer.”
Past Colonial champions Jordan Spieth and Kevin Na finished at 5-under in a group that was tied for 7th.
Two-time major champion Collin Morikawa finished at 2-over in a tie for 40th.
Rickie Fowler faded on Sunday with a 75 that dropped him 15 spots into a tie for 57th.
Defending Colonial champion Jason Kokrak was first off on Sunday morning and fired a 2-over 72 to finish the week at +8 in 67th place.