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Sam Burns outlasts Davis Riley in playoff to win Valspar Championship again

Sam Burns tees off on the sixth hole during the second round of the Valspar Championship.
Sam Burns tees off on the sixth hole during the second round of the Valspar Championship on Friday. Burns defeated Davis Riley on a second playoff hole Sunday to win the tournament.
(Chris O’Meara / Associated Press)
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Sam Burns is a winner again in the Valspar Championship, this time with a lot more stress and plenty of more emotion.

Burns holed a birdie putt from just over 30 feet on the 16th hole to beat Davis Riley on the second playoff hole, giving him three PGA Tour victories in his last 22 starts.

Burns, who closed with a two-under 69, is the second straight back-to-back winner at Innisbrook following Paul Casey’s consecutive wins in 2018 and 2019. The tournament was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.

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The victory moves Burns to No. 10 in the world for the first time, knocking Dustin Johnson out of the top 10 for the first time in seven years.

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“Man, it’s crazy,” Burns said. “Davis played well today, especially the way he finished. I tried to stay steady. I didn’t make a lot of mistakes. A lot of time on Sunday if you plot your way around, make a bunch of pars, throw in a few birdies, a lot of times it works well. So happy.”

Burns won last year by three shots.

Riley, a rookie contending for the first time on the PGA Tour, overcame a triple bogey on the par-five fifth hole with a clutch five-iron for birdie on the par-three 17th. He had a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th for the win and left it out to the right, closing with a 72.

Both made pars on the 18th in the playoff, with Riley saving par from a front bunker. Neither looked to be in great birdie position on the 16th until Burns’ putt caught the left edge and went 180 degrees around the cup before falling in the back side.

Riley hit a strong pitch needing to hole it to extend the playoff and missed long.

Justin Thomas (70) and Matthew NeSmith (71) each finished one shot out of the playoff, and each had a share of the lead at some point during a tense final round in warm, windy conditions on the Copperhead course.

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