The Country Club of Jackson isn’t just a another stop on the PGA Tour for Sam Burns, who grew up in Shreveport and played at LSU.
““I enjoy coming to this place every year,” he said. “It’s one of my favorite events. It’s the closest site we play to home. It’s fun to have family and friends able to drive over. I just love this area, love the golf course. It’s such a fun week.”
Burns shot a closing round 67 to edge Nick Watney and Cameron Young by one shot to win the Sanderson Farms Championship. His second tour victory earned him $1,26 million.
But this tournament was especially meaningful for Burns this year, even before his first tee shot on Thursday. His sister, Tori Walker, has a 6-week-old son (Burns) who is in a Dallas hospital battling meningitis.
Of course, the Sanderson Farms Championship raises millions for Children’s Mississippi, which focuses exclusively on treating seriously ill youngsters in Jackson.
““It’s been tough,” Burns said moments after his victory. “Wish they could’ve been here today. We’re all thinking about him and hopefully we’ll be able to see him soon. He’s made a lot of progress the last week, We’ve seen so many just small miracles from God the He’s working in his life. It’s been a blessing to see that.”
Burns, No. 25 in the World Golf Rankings, had seven birdies and just two bogeys in the final round. He and his caddie, Travis Perkins, stuck to the strategy that had worked all week.
“I think the main thing for us was, we knew what our game plan was,” said Burns, whose dad (Todd) played football at Louisiana Tech for the late Ole Miss player and coach Billy Brewer. “We knew we had a purpose for each shot and we were going to stick to it. If we needed to make a couple of birdies on the last couple of holes, then we’d try to do it.”
“I saw the leaderboard on 17 green,. And I kinda thought the guys behind us weren’t close enough to catch us. Not enough holes left. I think that’s when it started hitting me. If I could just get it up there around the green and make a 4 or 5, we could do it.”
Even though Burns was the No.1 collegiate golfer when he decided to leave LSU after two years and turn pro, many questioned his decision. And he posted only four top 10 finishes in his first 45 tournaments.
But he was growing his game, and it paid off with his first win at the Valspar Championship in May.
Third-round leader Sahith Theegala stumbled to a 71 and finished tied for eighth.
Hayden Buckley who grew up in Belden and attended Tupelo High School, shot 66 on Sunday to tie for fourth with Henrik Norlander , Andrew Landry and Trey Mullinax. Each earned $260,000.
Newton County native Andy Ogletree rallied from a 77 on Saturday to shoot 67. He tied for 51st.
Fulton native Chad Ramey posted a 71 and tied for 63rd.