LAS VEGAS (AP) — Sam Burns won the Sanderson Farms Championship five days ago and is trying to put it behind him. He is playing as though last week never ended.
Burns made a pair of 6-foot par putts on the only two greens he missed in regulation, ran off eight birdies for an 8-under 63 and grabbed a two-shot lead among the early starters Friday in the Shriners Children’s Open.
Not only has Burns won twice in the last six months, he also lost in a playoff at a World Golf Championship and finished one shot out of a playoff at Riviera this year. He is comfortable at the top, and it’s showing.
Key to this week was not to let last week linger.
“What we tried to do is just last week is last week,” he said. “This week is Shriners and preparing for this week, trying to make sure Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday that we are giving ourselves the best opportunity to play well this week.
“Obviously, incredible honored that I won last week and such a fun time, but just trying to kind of leave that there.”
Burns was at 13-under 129, two shots ahead of a group of five players that included Matthew Wolff (67), who lost in a playoff last year at the TPC Summerlin. Also in the group at 11-under 131 were Honda Classic winner Matt Jones (67), Adam Hadwin and Andrew Putnam (each with 64) and Slovakian silver medalist Rory Sabbatini (66).
Sung Kang, who opened with a 61, was among those playing in the afternoon.
Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka had a 68 and was six shots behind on a course that was doused with rain.
While Burns remained hot, that wasn’t the case with some others who contended last week at the Country Club of Jackson. Cameron Young, a runner-up last week, was likely to miss the cut, as was 54-hole leader Sahith Theegala.
They had company. Rickie Fowler managed a 66, though he was headed for another weekend off as he tries to find his game. Scottie Scheffler, unbeaten in three matches in his Ryder Cup debut two weeks ago, shot 67 and also was outside the cut line.
Burns played well in the opening round, too, except for the par-3 17th when he slightly pulled his tee shot into the water and made double bogey. There were no such issues in the second round. He was efficient as ever and remained dialed in with his irons.
Only two of his eight birdies were outside about 6 feet. He two-putted his final hole, the par-5 ninth, from 35 feet.
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