Burns fires career-low 62 to grab PGA Byron Nelson lead

Published May 15, 2021, 9:18 AM

by Agence-France-Presse

Sam Burns hits from the fairway on the 18th hole during round two of the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch on May 14, 2021 in McKinney, Texas. (Photo by MATTHEW STOCKMAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Sam Burns, coming off his first US PGA victory, fired a 10-under par 62 to seize a two-stroke lead after Friday’s second round of the Byron Nelson tournament.

The 24-year-old American made 10 birdies in a bogey-free round to set his PGA career-low score and stand on 17-under 127 after 36 holes at TPC Craig Ranch in suburban Dallas.

“Everything out there felt great,” Burns said. “We got into a good rhythm throughout the round.”

Sweden’s Alex Noren turned in a bogey-free 64 to stand second on 129 with South Korea’s Lee Kyoung-hoon third after back-to-back 65s, American Doc Redman fourth on 131 and 18-hole co-leader J.J. Spaun fifth on 132.

Burns, in his third PGA Tour campaign, won the Valspar Championship two weeks ago in Florida, defeating Keegan Bradley by three strokes and building confidence he could quickly win again.

“The biggest thing for me is just seeing the hard work that we put in it, start seeing results from that,” Burns said. “A lot of times you don’t know how long the results are going to take. Golf is a fickle game.

“It’s cool to see some feedback from the progress we’ve made back home and seeing it in tournament play as well.”

Burns opened and closed the front nine with birdies around back-to-back tap-in birdies at the par-5 fifth and par-4 sixth.

He rolled in a 28-foot putt at the par-4 11th to launch a run of four consecutive birdies, closing the run at 14 with a 17-foot putt.

Burns dropped his tee shot just outside three feet at the par-3 17th and left his approach inches from the cup at the par-5 18th to set up closing birdies.

“Made a run right there on the back nine,” Burns said. “So it was nice to be able to finish it off with two birdies at the end. Good way to end the day.

“Just trying to get a good game plan out here for tomorrow and let’s see what happens.

“Don’t try to play outside what I’m capable of. Just continue to put ourselves in the right spots and see what happens.”

Noren, who started on the back nine, birdied four of the last holes to move into second.

“Most of the stuff was working pretty good. It was just a nice day,” Noren said. It was a lot windier than yesterday. Today I putted well. Got it going.”

Lee found the going tougher as well, but matched his opening round.

“Today’s round was more difficult than yesterday, so I’m very happy,” he said. “This week iron play good and putting also good. So nice two rounds. A lot of good irons and chipping also, so good momentum.”

Poor start by Spieth

Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, who could complete a career Grand Slam by winning next week’s PGA Championship, shared the 18-hole lead on 63 but fell back with a 70 Friday into a sixth-place pack on 133.

“Knowing that the wind was going to pick up on the back nine, I thought shooting 5-under was a good goal if I played well,” Spieth said.

“I had plenty of looks. I didn’t make many putts at all.”

Spieth, who began on the back nine, opened with a bogey and parred both par-5s, then finished with eight pars before a bogey at the par-5 ninth.

“Just got off to a poor start,” he said. “Losing a couple to the field there got me a little frustrated. If you kind of tap the brakes a little when the scores are going to be low you feel like you have to play catchup.”