Local bettor wins $15k on Sam Burns’ victory

CASHING IN: As Sam Burns calmly reacted to his winning putt Sunday in Fort Worth, in the gallery behind him, his wife Caroline, and parents Todd (in blue) and Beth Burns celebrated, as did one lucky local bettor watching on TV.

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Last week, a Shreveporter, who’d just cashed a bet on Manchester City to win the English Premier League, had a little money in his sports betting account and let the leftovers ride on one of his favorite local athletes.

The $511 wager had become an afterthought after Sam Burns entered the weekend tied for 40th place at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth. Even a Saturday 67 that helped the Shreveport native and former LSU star climb 23 spots on the leaderboard didn’t seem to cause much excitement.

However, when Burns stormed out of the gate with a 5-under 30 to begin his final round at historic Colonial Country Club, things got very interesting. When Burns finished at 9 under for the event, still behind five golfers, including world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, he wasn’t the only one helplessly sweating the final two hours of regulation play.

“I didn’t think even par on the back would be good enough, and lost hope midway through the back nine,” the Shreveport bettor told The Journal. “Luckily, Sam didn’t, and he finished strong.”

Still, DataGolf gave Burns just a 3.2-percent chance to win when he holed his last putt for a final-round 65.

The Colonial became the scene of historic collapses on a windy Texas afternoon as our local bettor was tending to family duties.

Davis Riley led at 11 under when he bogeyed No. 13 and then hit his tee shot out of bounds at No. 14. He finished 7 under.

Harold Varner, once a co-leader at 10 under, collapsed with a triple bogey-double bogey-triple bogey run on Nos. 12-14 after a ruling on No. 12 for another co-leader – Scott Stallings – took an inordinate amount of time. He plummeted 26 spots and finished even par for the event.

Stallings was 10 under with seven holes remaining, but made bogeys at Nos. 12, 14 and 17 to finish 7 under.  

Brendan Todd made bogeys on Nos. 11 and 12 to fall from the lead at 10 under into third place.

However, Burns still needed his good friend to buckle under the Texas heat. Scheffler obliged. A bogey at No. 12 dropped Scheffler to 9 under. Six straight pars later we had a two-man playoff.

Could Burns and the local gambler pull off the unthinkable?


Burns had the first opportunity and wasted no time. His 38-foot putt for birdie from off the green was followed by a 30-foot miss from Scheffler, and a fourth career PGA Tour title was heading east on I-20 to Louisiana.

“It was special because of the way Sam won the tournament. He was completely out of contention to start the day, and I thought he had no shot,” said the bettor, who was forced to get text updates before finding a TV before the playoff. “Then, to face off against the Masters champion and to completely slam the door in his face when he had a chance to win made it even more special.”

The 25-year-old pro pocketed more than $1.5 million. The local bettor? More than $15,000 – the biggest hit of his sports betting career. Although it didn’t seem likely to be the case Saturday morning, Burns’ original win odds of 30-1 now seem like a gift.

“It was really surprising to me that people haven’t realized the type of season Sam is having,” the bettor said. “To be second in the FedExCup standings and only trailing Scheffler, that’s pretty special. Shreveport and the rest of the golf world need to wake up and start paying attention.”

Monday morning, the bettor checked the futures for the final two majors of the season.

Still, not much respect for the local kid.

Burns is 45-1 to win next month’s U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., and 65-1 to win the British Open at St. Andrews in July.

It’s safe to say Burns will again get the backing of our local bettor … and then some.


Photo courtesy of CBS Sports