This article is part of our Weekly Recap series.
Over the past few months, Sam Burns provided the blueprint for young golfers trying to make their mark on the PGA Tour: improve, contend, experience heartbreak, slump, win.
You could see the progression begin to play out for the 24-year-old Louisianan throughout the early stages of 2021, and it culminated Sunday with his first PGA Tour win at the Valspar Championship.
Let's go back a few months. Heading to Riviera in February, Burns had the stats to support great results, only they weren't happening, as noted in the DraftKings preview for the Genesis Invitational.
Burns proceeded to dominate the elite field – for three and a half rounds. He collapsed with three bogeys on the back nine and missed the playoff by a stroke in Max Homa's win. It was a crushing result and, while it moved Burns into the top 100 of the OWGR for the first time, he missed a spot in the Masters.
He proceeded to miss his next three cuts without breaking par even once at Bay Hill, THE PLAYERS and the Valero Texas Open with rounds of 77-72, 81-76, 75-74. Two weeks later, he made it to the weekend at Harbour Town (T39). The next week was the Zurich Classic, which was critical for Burns and came at a very fortunate time.
Burns got to spend the week with a great veteran partner in Billy Horschel, talking, learning, and winding up tied for fourth. He came out of that week a rejuvenated player,