Another week, another seven-stroke deficit was wiped out as Sam Burns came out of nowhere to claim the trophy in the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge. After firing the final round of 5-under-65 on a day the Colonial’s scoring average was nearly 3 times, the Louisiana native jumped himself to the leaderboard and play a playoff with his good friend Scotty Scheffler.
Punctuated by a dramatic jumper on the first playoff hole, Burns grabbed not only his tartan jacket and Firebird ’79, but more importantly, his third win of the season. For most of the day — heck, for most of the championship — Schaeffler was almost assumed to be going for his fifth win in the past four months.
The Texans weren’t able to gain any momentum, however, and eventually fell for 2-on-72. Schaeffler missed at times – he lost a wrong lane, misjudged the wind and generally looked uncomfortable on the Greens – but still resisted the urge In giving up in the end, his poor play with tough conditions proved to be too much, as Burns pulled the rug right out from under him.
Burns’ victory in the Charles Schwab Challenge marks his fourth win in his last 28 posts, and it’s time to stop treating him as a rookie, but rather a star who is here to stay.
Comparisons are tough, but we’re forced to make them a sports fan, writers, etc. The parallels between Jordan Spith and Schaeffler have been made nauseatingly, but oddly enough it’s Spieth’s best friend on tour, Justin Thomas, whom I find most similar to Burns.
This isn’t a novelty bias or an easy exit after Thomas recovered from a seven-stroke deficit of his own last Sunday at the PGA Championship. But ask yourself this question: Are there two players in the round who, when in a round, are present hotter?
You can bucket Cameron Smith into the mix, but Burns has the ability to capture every hole when he shoots all cylinders…as does Thomas. Burns was a collegiate player known for dropping out of the Southeast Conference…as was Thomas. Burns took a back seat as his good friend climbed to the world number one with everyone anointing him with the next great…as did Thomas.
Thomas reached the 2017 PGA Championship with four PGA Tour victories over a 23-month period. Burns will (most likely) reach the US Open with four wins in 13 months. The 25-year-old is a certified stud, a mainstay in the top ten in the official world golf rankings, and it’s only a matter of time before he claims the title of Main Champion for himself. Grade: A +
Here are the rest of our scores for the Charles Schwab Challenge 2022
2. Scotty Scheffler (-9): Hello, I wrote in part to Schaeffler as a Charles Schwab Challenge winner. Despite his poor play, I felt as if he was going to find a way to get this thing out as all the greats seem to do. It’s not the loss in the supplement that will keep him up at night, but rather his run of 2-on-72, because just one hit would have given him the trophy. He’s still the best player in the world, which is why he was supposed to win after getting a share of the top spot in the first round. He’s been taking breaks for the past four months, so this is probably just the golf gods’ way of spreading the love. Grade: A-
T4. Davis Riley (-7): If losing the playoffs at the Valspar Championship felt like a bee sting, this person must have felt like a wasp. Riley led the singles lead on a back nine after three birdies around the turn, but skipping a short tie in par-3 13 was the beginning of the end. A double bogey six soon followed, and with it his chances for his first PGA Tour title faded away. His last five starts have been reading T4-T13-T9-5-T4. There will be a fight with Cameron Young for Rookie of the Year over the next three months. Grade: A
T4. Tony Fino (-7): This may be the quietest tailgate of the year’s top five, but it’s a good result for Finau, which was hard to come by. The 32-year-old was without a top 20 in a full-court event outside of his runner-up at the Mexican Open. However, his volleying shot looked sharp, and now his short game is starting to help him on a consistent basis. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as the summer schedule is starting to get hotter with next week’s Memorial Tournament. In his previous seven games, Finau amassed four places in the top 15, so expect his good play to continue in Ohio. Grade: A-
T7. Jordan Spieth (-5): Nothing should surprise you when it comes to Spith these days, but his latest run might be a perfect summation of the state of his game; He combed six ghosts, six pars and six birds. The Texans were ranked in the top five in both strokes gained from the tee and strokes gained around the green, but lagged behind in their approach to play and, as usual, his racket. Spieth won’t be content with finishing the last 10 of the Colonial and will definitely take some time to work on the flat stick before next week. The good news is that he has done well at Muirfield Village in the past, having earned hits over the Greens in eight out of 10 matches. Grade: B +