British Open provides toughest major test for Sam Burns

MAJOR OPPORTUNITY: Shreveport native Sam Burns has completed his first round in the British Open with an early tee time this morning, and plays Round 2 beginning at 7:48 local time Friday.


The final major of the 2023 professional golf season, the British Open, is the one that fits Sam Burns’ game the least.

But other than one freakish hole last week, a weird triple-bogey triggered by an apparently embedded ball in a trap, the Shreveport native was very competitive on the way to a 19th-place finish at the Genesis Scottish Open.

Burns, a Calvary Baptist product and former LSU All-American, played his first round in the 151st Open Championship early today at Royal Liverpool.

Burns teed off at 1:47 a.m. CT, paired with Sepp Straka and Chris Kirk. Early round live stream coverage of the event began at 12:30 a.m., and will again Friday when Burns’ group has an afternoon tee time in England, one that translates to a more reasonable 7:48 a.m. CT first shot.

The 72-hole event will be televised on NBC and USA Network and streamed on Peacock. Burns hopes to celebrate his 27th birthday with a good finish on Sunday in Hoylake, England.

Burns, who now lives in Choudrant and plays out of Squire Creek Country Club there, is making his third appearance at The Open. Last year at St. Andrews, Burns finished 42nd overall with a 72-hole score of 6-under 282. He closed with a 64 last year in what tied for the lowest round on the final day.

Burns made his Open debut in 2021 at Royal St. George’s where he finished 76th.

The Open is the final leg of the professional grand slam. Burns, who has five career PGA Tour victories, tied for 29th at the Masters in April and then missed the cut at the PGA Championship in May. In his last grand slam outing at the U.S. Open, Burns tied for 32nd at 3-over 283. 

Burns is 17th in the Official World Golf Rankings, 16th in the FedEx Cup standings on the PGA Tour.  A good performance this weekend should essentially lock up his first berth on the USA Ryder Cup team this fall.

His career winnings of $21.2 million since joining the PGA Tour in 2019 includes a $3.5 million winner’s check from this spring’s World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play event in Austin, Texas, in March as the biggest chunk in $6.7 won on the tour this season.

During his LSU career, Burns earned Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year honors in 2017 as well as being named the SEC Player of the Year that season. He turned pro following his sophomore season in 2017 after setting the LSU mark for single-season stroke average (70.05).