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AP photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack / Sam Burns, right, is congratulated by his caddie after closing out his first PGA Tour victory at the Valspar Championship on Sunday in Palm Harbor, Fla.

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Sam Burns figured all those close calls would eventually teach him how to win on the PGA Tour.

Twice this season, he had the 54-hole lead and failed to convert. Six other times, he was atop the leaderboard at the end of a round, just never on the day that mattered: Sunday.

That changed, finally, at the Valspar Championship. The lesson was not what he expected, though.

"I always felt that you had to play perfect golf to win," Burns said after a 3-under 68 for a three-shot victory at 17-under 267. "I always felt that you had to play your absolute best on a Sunday to win. And after those experiences, I realized that it's not the case. I was trying to do too much."

This time he did just enough — and got some help from Keegan Bradley, who closed with a 71 to finish second.

Tied for the lead with six holes to play, Bradley's 8-iron shot sent the ball short of the green and into the water for a double bogey on the par-3 13th. Burns put him away with two big birdies and a celebration he had reason to feel was a long time coming.

All smiles coming up the 18th hole with a four-shot lead, Burns was fighting back tears when his wife, parents and other family spilled onto the green after he won.

"I've worked so hard for this moment," he said. "They've all sacrificed so much."

The victory moves him to No. 44 in the Official World Golf Ranking and all but assures the 24-year-old from Louisiana a spot in this year's U.S. Open, along with his first trip to the Masters next spring.

Bradley and Burns were tied through 36 holes and 54 holes, and they stayed that way through 12 on another blistering day at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook. That changed with one swing.

"I just hit a terrible shot," Bradley said of his approach on the 13th.

Cameron Tringale (68) and Norway's Viktor Hovland (65) shared third at 13 under, one stroke ahead of Mexico's Abraham Ancer (69).

Chattanooga native Keith Mitchell (82) finished 69th at 9 over.

Burns wasted a good start at the season-opening Safeway Open, closed with a 2-over 72 to tie for seventh in the Houston Open and lost a two-shot lead at the Genesis Invitational, coming up one shot short of a playoff.

Said Burns: "Those moments in the past, you really learn a lot."

He put Bradley away with an 18-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole and a rare show of emotion, slamming his fist after it dropped. He had a four-shot lead with two holes to play, the water and worst of the hazards behind him.

No one else had much of a chance.

 

PGA Tour Champions: Weir hangs on

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Mike Weir, whose eight PGA Tour victories include the 2003 Masters, secured his first PGA Tour Champions victory as he held steady with pars down the stretch for a 4-under 68 and let John Daly make the last mistake in the Insperity Invitational.

Daly and Weir were tied going down the stretch at The Woodlands Country Club, where the tournament was reduced from 54 to 36 holes after heavy rain washed out Friday's scheduled play.

Daly, playing in the group ahead of Weir, was posing over his 9-iron over the water to the 18th green when the ball came up a fraction short and splashed next to the bulkhead. He made double bogey for a 69 and had to settle for a runner-up spot.

Weir, who missed birdie chances inside 10 feet on the 16th and 17th holes, watched it all unfold and knew what he had to do. He fired his approach to about 15 feet behind the hole, then pumped his fist as he walked toward the green. The 50-year-old Canadian wound up winning by two shots, finishing at 10-under 134.

"J.D. played great. It was unfortunate for him on the last," Weir said. "This means a lot. I played really well today. I'm still a little off with my putting. I made it hard on myself. But I hit the shots that I needed. It feels very good."

Daly, the 2017 Insperity Invitational winner in search of his second victory on the senior circuit, couldn't believe he hit into the water on the final hole.

"I caught a gust on 18," said the 55-year-old Daly, whose five PGA Tour wins included the 1991 PGA Championship and the 1995 British Open. "I hit a 9-iron from about 155, and I hit a 9-iron from 141 there, and I caught a gust and just got a bad break."

Tim Petrovic and David Toms each shot a 71 to tie Daly for second.

 

LPGA: 'Like my first win'

SINGAPORE — Hyo Joo Kim closed with an 8-under 64, then watched from the comfort of the clubhouse as Hannah Green bogeyed her final two holes to hand Kim a one-stroke victory in the LPGA Tour's HSBC Women's World Championship.

Kim sat in the dining room at Sentosa Golf Club and munched on some late afternoon snacks while watching Green take a one-stroke lead to the 17th. However, Green three-putted the par-3 hole to leave Kim tied for the lead, and then the 24-year-old Australian bogeyed the 18th after she missed the green and a comeback putt for par after a poor chip, closing with a 69.

Kim, a 25-year-old South Korean, finished at 17-under 271 to win her fourth LPGA title — including a major at the 2014 Evian Championship — but her first in five years.

Three players tied for third at 15 under: Thailand's Patty Tavatanakit (65), third-round leader Lin Xiyu of China (71) and South Korea's Inbee Park (70), who is ranked No. 2 in the world.

Kim's final round featured eight birdies, a major turnaround from her wild third in which she had six each in birdies, pars and bogeys.

"Winning after such a long time, it feels like my first win of all," said Kim, who did not play on the LPGA Tour last year, remaining in her home country to compete on the KLPGA Tour, winning twice and earning six other top-10 finishes.

 

Drought finally over on European Tour

TENERIFE, Spain — Dean Burmester ended a four-year winless streak in style with a five-stroke victory at the Tenerife Open.

The 31-year-old South African closed with a bogey-free 9-under 62 to finish at 25-under 259 and secure his first victory since his European Tour breakthrough at the Tshwane Open in 2017. He said getting back to winning had been "four years of struggle, of hard work."

Germany's Nicolai von Dellingshausen (68) was second, and Poland's Adrian Meronk (67) and Finland's Kalle Samooja (69) tied for third at 19 under. They were one stroke ahead of American John Catlin (67), whose win at the Austrian Golf Open on April 18 was his third European Tour victory, with all of them coming since September.

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