It feels like I should move Sam Burns down to No. 7 this week.
Not to imply that there are six better golfers than him in the field; I find that untrue.
It’s because that’s where he’s finished each of his two trips to Memorial Park.
The former LSU Tiger shot 68-65-68-72 to take T-7th in 2020. He led the field in total strokes gained tee to green (11.147) but was ice cold with the putter. Burns finished six shots off the pace.
In 2021, he shot two shots higher (70-67-71-67) to post the same result of T-7th. He was only five off the pace and could have been top five if not for a closing double bogey. Burns was better on the greens, finishing 17th in SG putting (3.031). He was top-30 in all SG categories but just didn’t make enough birdies to factor for the title.
"“I think that’s the challenging part of this golf course, it takes a lot of discipline around here,” Burns assessed of Memorial Park in a 2020 Tee Scripts transcription. “You get out of position, you just try to get it back to where you can get it up and down or get it in a section of the green where you can lag putt it.”"
He did factor for several titles in the 2021-22 PGA Tour season. Burns was a three-time winner, most recently in May at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Since then, he was a solid contributor for the American Presidents Cup team and has two more top-10s.
One came in his last start at the CJ Cup. The 26-year-old looked solid against a ton of big names to take, you guessed it, T-7th. That was just his second tournament of the 2022-23 campaign, so he ought to be fresh for the Cadence Bank Houston Open with a week to prepare.
Burns ranked 12th on the PGA Tour last season in total SG per round (1.39). He was above average in all SG categories, including 10th in putting (.553).
He tends to play well on Bermuda grass courses, so there’s a lot working in his favor this week.