Sam Burns’ record Colonial comeback lathered in Shreveport greatness

Opinion by ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Eleven years ago, a 14-year-old Sam Burns walked the fairways of Colonial Country Club with childhood friends and golf prodigies like Carter Toms, Nathan Jeansonne and Philip Barbaree Jr. as fellow Shreveporter David Toms put the finishing touches on his 13th and final PGA Tour victory.

“I remember that day like it was yesterday,” Burns said Sunday, after his world had come full circle.

Burns’ 38-foot “Texas wedge” found the cup on the first playoff hole at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth and was the dagger that took out the former LSU star’s best friend on Tour, former Longhorn Scottie Scheffler, the No. 1-ranked player in the world.

“(Eleven years ago), I don’t know if I would have believed (I would win this tournament),” Burns said. “I would have wanted to. To have my name on that list (of winners) is pretty cool.”

Burns will forever have his name etched on the Wall of Champions adjacent to the No. 1 tee at Colonial. In addition to Toms, it includes the likes of Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

In 2011, Toms’ signature shot was a hole-out for eagle from 86 yards on No. 11. Sunday, Burns’ bomb from the fairway cut completed the largest comeback in the history of the event and came more than 2 hours after he finished his final-round 65.

The former Calvary Baptist Academy star began the day seven shots off Scheffler’s lead, but used a front-nine 30 to close the gap as the historic Colonial became firmer and Mother Nature added a twist when she upped the fans to full blast.

Player after player tumbled down the leaderboard. The result: A duel between buddies.

“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,” said Burns, who moved to nine in the Official World Golf Ranking and No. 2 in the FedExCup standings. “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 a check of more than $1.5 million, Burns walked away with a fully restored and modernized 1979 Pontiac Firebird.

When Toms triumphed at Colonial, just one week after a gutting playoff loss at the Players Championship, his father, Buster, walked the same fairways as Burns and his buddies.

Sunday, Burns’ parents Todd and Beth could be seen jumping and fist pumping behind the 18th green, as well as wife, Caroline, too.

Burns won for the third time this season and fourth time in his career. He’s already ahead of the pace set by local predecessors Toms and Hal Sutton.

Sutton, a 14-time winner on the PGA Tour, captured his fourth title at the age of 27. However, he won the 1983 PGA Championship at the age of 25. Toms cashed his first winner’s check on the PGA Tour at 30 years old.

“It was funny, I actually saw (Toms’) wedge in there in the dining (room) — I’m assuming it’s the one he made the wedge shot with,” Burns said. “It’s really cool, and I can’t wait to give him a text and have my name up there next to his.”

PGA Tour milestones

Hal Sutton (14 PGA Tour wins)

First PGA Tour win: 1982, 24 years old
First major: 1983 PGA, 25 years
Fourth win: 1985, 27 years old

David Toms (13 PGA Tour wins)

First PGA Tour win: 1997, 30 years old
Fourth win: 2000, 33 years old
First major: 2001 PGA, 34 years old

Sam Burns (Four PGA Tour wins)

First PGA Tour win: 2021, 24 years old
Fourth win: Sunday, 25 years old