Sam Burns has won the Valspar Championship and Dean Burmester the Tenerife Open. Steve Rawlings takes a look back at their success' here with his customary debrief here...
"Winning is very difficult and it’s an art very few master but Burns has the talent to win again and again and again."
After three rounds, both the Tenerife Open and the Valspar Championship looked set up to produce a bit of drama but we finished up witnessing two players win very easily.
Having trailed the 54- hole leaders, Kalle Samooja and Nicolai von Dellingshausen by a stroke, pre-event 50.049/1 chance, Dean Burmester, soon took control in Tenerife. After birdying the first two holes, the 31-year-old South African birdied three-in-row from the fifth and the result was never really in doubt after that.
Samooja, a pre-event 80.079/1 chance, was matched at a low of 2.1211/10 and von Dellingshausen traded as low as 2.6213/8 but Burmester just pulled away from his rivals on the back nine for a hugely impressive five-stroke victory.
After a nine-under-par bogey-free 62 on Sunday, Burmester ended the week on 25-under-par. The exact same total that fellow South African, Garrick Higgo, had reached the week before at the Gran Canaria Open.
Following victories in Kenya by Justin Harding and Daniel Van Tonder, a South African has now won four of the last five regular European Tour events.
Over at the Valspar Championship, Keegan Bradley and Sam Burns had dominated the event at the halfway stage, sitting four clear of the field. Max Homa got to within a stroke of the pair after a brilliant five-under-par 66 on Saturday and he hit a low of 3.052/1 when he drew alongside them with a birdie at the first in round four but that was as good as it got for Homa. That was his only pick-up all day and he eventually finished tied for sixth after a three-over-par 74.
Bradley, a pre-event 100.099/1 chance, hit a low of 1.618/13 after he birdied the ninth to take a one-stroke lead but his slim advantage was soon lost when Burns, a pre-tournament 80.079/1 shot, who was matched at a high of 100.099/1, birdied the par five 11th from 15 feet. The pair both parred the 12th before Bradley handed the initiative to Burns with this shocking shot at the par three 13th.
After the two-stroke swing at 13, Burns extended his lead to three with a birdie at the par five 14th before both he and Bradley bogeyed the 15th. Burns sealed the deal with a terrific birdie at the tough par four 16th and he went on to cruise to a three-stroke victory, despite a bogey at the last.
It's been a poor week but I've got no complaints. Having highlighted yesterday that Burmester was the only European Tour winner in the top-six with a round to go in Tenerife and having judged him to be the "most likely winner" in the In-Play Blog, I perhaps should have sided with him at 6.05/1 but on the other hand, I thought Homa was the most likely candidate at the Valspar with a round to go and he played poorly.
I also looked at taking on Burns and Bradley at halfway in the States but decided against it so although it's been a losing week, it could have easily been a whole lot worse and having only fiddled about in-play with a few outsiders, it's been far from a disaster.
Floodgates could open for emotional Burns
This was the third time this season that 24-year-old Burns had led with a round to go on the PGA Tour and seeing how emotional he was afterwards probably explained why it's been tough for him to get over the line.
Regular readers will know I was a big Sam Burns fan from the get-go, and I backed him several times at huge odds. I distinctly remember being on at 360.0359/1 when he hit the front at the RBC Heritage on the back-nine on Sunday two years ago (matched at a low of 5.95/1) but he reacted poorly and fell away.
He's been in-contention numerous times since and he's been disappointing but having watched his body language as he finished up yesterday and having seen how emotional he was, I can really see why it's taken him as long as it has to cross the line.
Although his win was cosy in the end, Bradley's double at 13 was a huge help and in the cold light of the next day, I do wonder how he'd have reacted if the event had developed into more of a battle on the back-nine but now he's won, the floodgates could open wide.
Winning is very difficult and it's an art very few master but Burns has the talent to win again and again and again.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter