Burns birdies 6 of last 8, earns 2-shot Nelson lead

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McKINNEY, Texas — Now that Sam Burns has found out how you can flip an early lead right into a victory, it is already time to attempt once more.

Burns birdied six of his final eight holes Friday for a 10-under 62 and a two-stroke lead over Alex Noren at 17 underneath after the second spherical of the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Noren shot 64 to get to fifteen underneath, and Ok.H. Lee had his second 65 to succeed in 14 underneath. Doc Redman bogeyed two of his final three holes for a 67 that left him 13 underneath.

J.J. Spaun was 12 underneath, following a first-round 63 that left him tied with Jordan Spieth with a 69. Spieth shot 70, leaving the native favourite within the group at 11 underneath that included Matt Kuchar and Charl Schwartzel.

Scoring went up general together with the wind a day after the brand new residence of the Nelson, the par-72 TPC Craig Ranch north of Dallas, surrendered 94 rounds within the 60s in its debut. Within the second spherical, there have been 93 scores of 70 or greater.

The more durable situations did not have an effect on Burns, taking part in for the primary time since his first PGA Tour win two weeks in the past on the Valspar Championship in Florida.

Earlier than Burns received at Innisbrook, the 24-year-old Louisiana native had twice did not convert 54-hole leads, within the Houston Open final fall and the Genesis Invitational at Riviera in February.

Now he has a tour-best 5 36-hole leads this season after following a 65 with the bottom spherical of his profession. Burns is attempting to turn into the primary to get his first two PGA Tour victories in consecutive begins since Camilo Villegas in 2008.

“The largest factor for me is simply seeing the exhausting work that we put in it, begin seeing outcomes from that,” Burns stated. “A variety of occasions you do not know how lengthy the outcomes are going to take. It is cool to see some suggestions from the progress we have made again residence and seeing it in match play as effectively.”

Already with a four-hole run of birdies on the again 9, Burns put his tee shot within the stadium setting of the par-3 seventeenth inside 4 ft, then hit a brief method on the par-5 18th to 2 ft for birdie.

One other birdie got here on the par-4 14th, when Burns laid up on the 318-yard gap whereas bulked-up taking part in associate Bryson DeChambeau drove the inexperienced and two-putted for birdie for the second day in a row. Burns made a 17-footer.

DeChambeau, who performed at close by SMU and is certainly one of three top-10 gamers within the area, had two late bogeys for a 68 to get to 7 underneath. Sung Kang, the 2019 winner and defending champion after final 12 months’s cancellation, is 8 underneath after a 69.

Spieth did not make any putts past 12 ft a day after a 55-footer for eagle on the ultimate gap pulled him even with Spaun.

Nonetheless, Spieth was in his finest place in 5 years for a top-10 end — or higher — on the Nelson. That hasn’t occurred within the decade since Spieth contended on Sunday as a 16-year-old newbie earlier than tying for sixteenth.

Not solely are Spieth’s ideas on the perfect end in his hometown occasion, the three-time main winner and others are peeking at subsequent week’s PGA Championship on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in South Carolina.

“There isn’t a purpose for me to not belief every part I am doing,” stated Spieth, who ended a virtually four-year victory drought in San Antonio the week earlier than ending third on the Masters. “At this level, I’ve received a chance to contend right here, and if I can get myself an opportunity on Sunday, that’s the finest prep for this match and likewise subsequent week.”

Burns and Spieth have already got spots within the PGA. Lee, who has by no means received on the PGA Tour, would not. A Nelson victory would put the 29-year-old South Korean within the area.

Hideki Matsuyama shot 70 and was proper on the Nelson’s record-low reduce line at 6 underneath in his first look since turning into the primary Japanese winner on the Masters. Jon Rahm, the highest-ranked participant within the area at No. 3, shot 69 and was 7 underneath.

Masters runner-up Will Zalatoris, taking part in not removed from the place he grew up on a course he is aware of effectively, joined Matsuyama at 6 underneath. The 24-year-old birdied two of his final 4 holes for a 68.

The Nelson moved to Craig Ranch after final 12 months’s COVID-19 cancellation, which adopted two years on the treeless Trinity Forest hyperlinks course in Dallas. Earlier than that, the Nelson spent greater than 30 years on the 4 Seasons resort in Irving.

Craig Ranch’s debut coincided with Lee Westwood’s first look in both Dallas-area match. The 48-year-old Englishman, who hasn’t performed Colonial in close by Fort Price, shot a 64 and was 9 underneath. Westwood needed to see his daughter in Florida — and did not wish to go into the PGA with out having performed in a month.

“I believed possibly, you understand, attempt a brand new expertise,” stated Westwood, who opened his second spherical on the again 9 and birdied 5 of the primary six holes. “I do not wish to name it prep for subsequent week, however I favor to enter a significant championship being aggressive the week earlier than.”

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