Burns, Americans overcome math anomalies to capture Presidents Cup

On the PGA Tour, most weeks void of victories don’t lead to … well, a victory.

That wasn’t the case for Shreveport’s Sam Burns in Charlotte, N.C.

The United States Presidents Cup squad routed the Internationals from the get-go at Quail Hollow. The Americans raced to an 8-2 lead following Friday’s play and secured a 17.5-12.5 victory Sunday.

Burns (0-3-2) was the only player on his team to play all five sessions and not collect a victory, but that simply becomes a footnote to a dominant showing for the Red, White and Blue.

“There were some guys that were mad Saturday night and felt like they weren’t contributing,” USA captain Davis Love III said. “So I asked stat guys for some information.

“Scottie (Scheffler) and Sam had incredible numbers. It was like mathematically or karma impossible they played the best team that day over and over.”

For the first three sessions, Burns and Scheffler, ranked No. 1 in the world, were paired.

On the paper, the duo seemed unstoppable and betting lines showed they were prohibitive favorites. 

However, the Burns-Scheffler team was the only U.S. twosome to lose on Thursday, falling to Si Woo Kim and Cam Davis after 16 holes. In Friday’s best-ball format, Burns made three birdies and an eagle to help build a 2-up lead on the back nine before halving the match with Sebastian Munoz and Sungjae Im. 

Saturday morning, Burns and Scheffler played together for the final time, and lost 2-and-1 to K.H. Lee and Tom Kim.

Love switched things up in the afternoon. He benched Scheffler (who was winless in four sessions) and sent Burns out with Billy Horschel – the duo proven to be yearly contenders at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans – the only team event on the official PGA Tour schedule. 

That didn’t work either.

Adam Scott and Cam Davis erased a one-hole deficit with victories on Nos. 16 and 17.

Sunday, Burns was on his own against Hideki Matsuyama. Burns caught fire on the back nine, making three straight birdies to erase a two-hole disadvantage. Matsuyama tied the match with a victory on the 15th hole despite making a bogey. 

The players tied the final three holes and halved the match. 

American Kevin Kisner, who lost Sunday, was winless (0-2-1) in three attempts this week.

Nevertheless, Burns’ first foray into international team competition as a professional resulted in victory.

“We all had fun, we all got to play and we all got what we wanted in the end,” Love said.

“Some guys who didn’t have the best records told me this was still one of the best weeks of their lives.

“We will realize it tonight, and next week, and next season.”

Burns will be in action in Jackson, Miss., this week for an attempt to defend his Sanderson Farms Championship title.

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com