JACKSON, Miss. — Sam Burns was in the mix down the stretch at the Sanderson Farms Championship, along with a half-dozen players who were searching for their first PGA Tour title.
Burns played like he had been there before, and it led to his second win of the year.
He avoided mistakes until it didn't matter, running off three straight birdies that allowed him to seize control Sunday and close with a 5-under-par 67 at the Country Club of Jackson to finish at 22-under 266 and win by one shot over Nick Watney (65) and Cameron Young (68).
Burns won the Valspar Championship in the spring, and this year he also finished one shot out of a playoff at the Genesis Open and lost in a playoff at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational, a World Golf Championship. The experience didn't hurt.
"I learned a lot," Burns said. "Having that under my belt today, that experience was definitely helpful, and coming down the stretch I felt a lot different than I have in the past — not necessarily more confident, but just in a better state of mind."
Burns had four birdies in six-hole stretch on the back nine, and the final three were key. He sank a 15-foot putt on the par-3 13th, hit a 5-iron shot that put the ball 15 feet away from the cup and set up a two-putt birdie on the next hole to take the lead, then hit a perfect pitch from behind the green on the reachable par-4 15th for a tap-in birdie. Staked to a two-shot lead going down the 18th, he took a safe bogey from the greenside bunker to secure the victory.
Sweden's Henrik Norlander had the day's low round with a 64 and shared fourth at 20 under with Hayden Buckley (66), Andrew Landry (66) and Trey Mullinax (68). One stroke back in eighth were South Korea's Si Woo Kim (66), Seth Reeves (69) and Sahith Theegala (71), the rookie who began the final round with a one-shot lead.
Baylor School graduate Luke List, who made the cut on the number Friday, shot a 65 for his third round in the 60s at the tourney and tied for 17th at 16 under. One shot behind him and tied for 26th was another former Red Raiders standout, Stephan Jaeger (70).
Burns ended a trend in which six of the previous seven winners of the Sanderson Farms Championship had captured their first PGA Tour title. He was among the few who had winning experience. Six players in contention at the start of the final round had recently earned PGA Tour cards through the developmental Korn Ferry Tour.
Boutier's lead holds up
GALLOWAY, N.J. — Celine Boutier birdied two of her last three holes for an 8-under 63 and won the ShopRite LPGA Classic when South Korea's best two players faltered down the stretch Sunday.
After starting the final round five shots behind, Boutier ran off six birdies on the front nine of the windy Bayside Course at Seaview to join a growing list of contenders.
The 27-year-old from France holed a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 16 and then birdied the par-5 18th from 5 feet to set the target at 14-under 199.
Jin Young Ko and Inbee Park, who shared the lead going into the final round, couldn't catch her.
Ko, going for her third win in her past five starts on the tour, appeared to be in control until she started missing putts from the 10-foot range.
Park rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on the 14th to reach 13 under, and she tied for the lead on the next hole when Ko hit into a bunker and missed an 8-foot par putt.
Boutier was on the practice green and then watching on TV in the clubhouse to see if her score would stand. Park stayed in the game with gritty par saves on the 16th and 17th, while Ko wasted another chance by missing a 10-foot birdie chance on the 16th.
On the closing par 5, Ko hit a fairway metal to the right side of the green, leaving her some 70 feet away. She lagged that about eight feet short. Park didn't have the length to get home in two, and her wedge ran by about 10 feet.
Both missed their birdie putts, giving Boutier her second LPGA Tour victory, and her first on American soil. Her previous win was the 2019 Vic Open in Australia, two weeks before the LPGA Tour was shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.
"It feels like my first win in Australia was so long ago," Boutier said. "I'm just over the moon."
Brooke Henderson of Canada birdied the 18th for a 64 and also wound up one shot behind. Park and Ko each closed with a 69.
Willett gets back to winning
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Danny Willett celebrated his 34th birthday by winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship by two strokes.
The 2016 Masters champion took a three-shot lead into the European Tour event's final round, which was played on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Willett closed with a 4-under 68 and finished at 18-under 270 to earn his eighth pro win and first since the BMW PGA Championship in September 2019.
Fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton, a two-time champion of the event, shot a 67 and tied for second with Sweden's Joakim Lagergren (66).
Players in the field completed a round at St. Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie — three of the most storied courses in Scotland — from Thursday to Saturday. Those who made the cut returned to St. Andrews for the final round.
Willett's health struggles this season have included COVID-19, wisdom teeth, appendicitis and a hernia.
"I seem to do this a lot actually, go up and down," Willett said. "It's been a very unfortunate last eight months, really. Every time the game feels like it's been in a nice place, we've had a couple of things, issues with health, just things that you can't really avoid."