Will anyone catch Sam Burns?
The 24-year-old leapt from T-3 to first on Friday at the Vivint Houston Open after carding a bogey-free 5-under 65 in the second round. Not only does Burns hold the lead after the morning wave, he held it by four — yes, four — shots when he walked off the course.
After the morning wave finished, Burns led Jason Day by two shots and first-round leader Brandt Snedeker by three.
Burns began his round with a bang, birdieing three of his first four holes. He added on another birdie on the par-5 eighth to sit 4 under at the turn. Burns carded his fifth birdie on the par-5 16th and had a chance for his sixth birdie of the day on the 18th with a 27-foot, 10-inch putt, but he settled for par.
One of the areas in which Burns was solid Friday was on the par-5s. Memorial Park Golf only has three par 5s and Burns birdied all three during the second round. On Thursday, he birdied 8 and 16, but bogeyed 3.
Burns’ 65 in the second round is significant considering the difficulty of Memorial Park Golf, which is hosting its first Tour event in nearly 50 years. It also ties lowest round of the tournament so far, following Snedeker’s first-round 65.
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Even more impressive, Burns hit 15-of-18 greens on Friday. Burns credited his ability to find the greens to building off his first-round 68 and learning the features course, and his overall second-round success his caddie, Travis Perkins.
“Yeah, I think Travis did a great job all day just trying to put us in the right spots and I think we were able to do that for the most part. I think that’s the challenging part of this golf course, it takes a lot of discipline around here,” Burns said. “You get out of position, you just try to get it back to where you can get it up and down or get it in a section of the green where you can lag putt it. Fortunately early we got some good looks and was able to convert, so solid.”
The Shreveport, Louisiana, native is looking for his first PGA Tour win. His best finish on Tour was third at the 2018 Sanderson Farms Championship. Last season, Burns had one top 10 at the American Express (T-6) and made 11 cuts out of 19 events. His only professional win was on the Korn Ferry Tour at the 2017 Savannah Golf Championship.
This season, Burns already has one top 10 finish at the Safeway Open where he finished T-7 at 17 under. He said Friday he’s is building off that experience in Houston.
“Yeah, I think (being in contention taught me about) slowing down a little bit, really talking through the shot with Travis and making sure we have a clear picture of what we’re trying to do, I think that was really helpful to learn that,” Burns said.
Burns walked off the course as 36-hole leader at 7 under, four shots ahead of Snedeker.