Burns rallies to win Colonial, Alker bags 1st senior major

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Sam Burns made a 38-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole at Colonial, which came just more than two hours after he had finished his round, to beat top-ranked Scottie Scheffler on Sunday.

After finishing his 5-under 65 to get to 9 under, Burns was done in the clubhouse when, at one point, Scheffler was among five players tied at 10 under.

The gusty wind and a strange sequence changed all that. And Scheffler needed three clutch putts for a 72 just to get into the playoff matching 25-year-old standouts and close friends.

Burns’ seven-stroke comeback matched Nick Price in 1994 for the biggest in a final round to win Colonial.

The playoff began with both driving into the fairway at No. 18, the same hole where just moments earlier Scheffler made a 6-foot par after his approach on his 72nd hole went into the bunker.

Scheffler got on the green with his approach in the playoff, but was 36 feet away. Burns hit just off the back edge of the green and used his putter, with the ball curling the last few feet into the cup. Scheffler made a good run with his putt, but didn’t have a birdie all day.

It was the third win this season for Burns, and his fourth overall in his last 27 starts. The world’s 10th-ranked player won at Valspar for the second time in March.

The Colonial win was worth $1,512,000, along with a plaid jacket and a custom-built Schwab Firebird Trans Am.

Masters champion Scheffler was going for his fifth victory in his last 10 starts. He missed becoming the first player since Tom Watson in 1980 with five wins in a PGA Tour season before the start of June.

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Steven Alker avoided mistakes down the stretch and closed with an 8-under 63 for a three-shot victory in the Senior PGA Championship, his third title this year and first major.

Alker started the final round four shots behind and forged a three-way tie with Stephen Ames and Bernhard Langer on the back nine.

Langer missed the green on consecutive holes and made bogeys to fall back. Ames hit his drive into the water on the par-4 14th and had to scramble for bogey.

Alker birdied the 15th and 16th holes playing in front of Ames to seize control, and Ames couldn’t catch up.

Alker finished at 16-under 268. Ames closed with a 70 to finish second, while Langer (71) finished alone in third.

Alker, a 50-year-old from New Zealand, spent the bulk of his career on the Korn Ferry Tour and a few seasons on the PGA Tour and European tour. Since he turned 50 last summer, he has taken over the PGA Tour Champions with four wins in his last 11 starts.

The victory gets him into the PGA Championship next year at Oak Hill. Alker had such an ordinary career before 50 that he never qualified for the PGA Championship.

LPGA TOUR

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Eun-Hee Ji won the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play for a spot next week in the U.S. Women’s Open, beating Ayaka Furue 3 and 2 in cooler conditions at Shadow Creek.

Ji, the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open winner at Saucon Valley, took the last spot at Pine Needles with her sixth LPGA Tour victory and first since 2019.

At 36, Ji is the oldest South Korean winner in LPGA Tour history. Ranked 83rd in the world, she was seeded 36th in the 64-player field.

Furue is winless on the LPGA Tour. Ranked 27th, the 22-year-old Japanese player was seeded 10th.

After making bogeys on the first two par 5s to fall a hole behind, Ji birdied the par-3 eighth to tie it. She holed out from 97 yards for eagle on the par-5 ninth and won the par-4 10th with a par for a 2-up lead.

Furue took the par-4 11th with her lone birdie of the match, and Ji countered with a par win on the par-4 12th. They halved the next three holes and Ji ended it with a par win on the par-5 16th — holing a 10-footer before Furue missed her par try.

In the windy morning semifinals, Ji beat Andrea Lee 4 and 3, and Furue edged Lilia Vu 2 and 1. Vu beat Lee 4 and 2 in the third-place match.

EUROPEAN TOUR

CROMVOIRT, Netherlands (AP) — Victor Perez of France birdied the fourth hole of a playoff with Ryan Fox to win the Dutch Open for the second European tour title of his career.

They switched to the 17th hole at Bernardus Golf having matched each other stroke for stroke on three trips down No. 18 in the playoff, with Perez holing birdie putts from 15 feet and then 30 feet to keep it alive.

On the fourth playoff hole, Perez rolled in another long-range putt on the 17th green and Fox missed his.

Fox looked certain to win in regulation when he chipped in for a birdie at No. 11, holed from 80 feet for an eagle at No. 12 and then holed from 45 feet for birdie at No. 14 for a three-shot lead.

However, the 35-year-old New Zealander drove into water on the par-5 18th, missed the green with his approach, and duffed his fourth shot into a greenside bunker and made double bogey for a 68.

Playing two groups behind, Perez holed from 35 feet for birdie on the 17th to move into a share of the lead on 13-under par and missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the 18th for the win. He shot 69.

Perez, Fox and Adrian Meronk of Poland, who finished a shot outside the playoff, secured the three places for the British Open as part of its qualifying series.

KORN FERRY TOUR

GLENVIEW, Ill. (AP) — Harry Hall holed a 7-foot birdie on the third playoff hole to beat Nick Hardy in the NV5 Invitational, his second Korn Ferry Tour win in two years.

Hall and Hardy each made birdie on the par-5 18th at The Glen Club for a 6-under 65, finishing at 22-under 262.

They played the downwind 18th twice in the playoff and Hardy got up-and-down for birdie from behind the green and short of the green, while Hall had a pair of long two-putt birdies. On the par-3 17th hole, Hall hit his tee shot close, while Hardy again missed the green.

Hall made the winning putt, denying Hardy his first Korn Ferry Tour title.

OTHER TOURS

Scott Vincent of Zimbabwe made up a seven-shot deficit by closing with a 7-under 65 and beating Anthony Quayle of Australia on the second playoff hole to win the Mizuno Open on the Japan Golf Tour. Vincent, Quayle, Brad Kennedy of Australia and Justin De Los Santos of the Philippines earned the four spots available to the British Open through its international qualifying series. … Gina Kim won her first Epson Tour title when she closed with an even-par 73 for a two-shot victory over Maria Fassi and Caroline Inglis in the Inova Mission Inn Resort & Club Championship. … Javier Sainz won for the first time on the European Challenge Tour by overcoming a six-shot deficit with a 6-under 65 and beating Jeremy Freiburghaus (71) in a playoff at the Farmfoods Scottish Challenge. … Linn Grant of Sweden closed with a 5-under 67 for a one-shot victory over Cara Gainer of England in the Mithra Belgian Ladies Open. It was Grant’s second Ladies European Tour victory in five starts this year. … Deon Germisuys closed with an 8-under 64 for a six-shot victory in the Sishen Classic, his first title on the Sunshine Tour. … Jose de Jesus Rodriguez of Mexico shot 8-under 64 for a two-shot vicory over Austin Hitt in the Jalisco Open on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica. … Sakura Koiwai shot a 1-under 71 and won the Resort Trust Ladies on the Japan LPGA by two shots over Nana Suganuma and Pei-Ying Tsai. … Yun Ji Jeong closed with a 4-under 68 and won a four-way playoff on the fifth extra hole tot capture the E1 Charity Open on the Korean LPGA.

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