AT&T Byron Nelson 2021: Sam Burns Maintains Lead with Solid 3rd Round

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 15, 2021

MCKINNEY, TEXAS - MAY 15: Sam Burns hits his tee shot on the 5th hole during round three of the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch on May 15, 2021 in McKinney, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Sam Burns lit up the course on Friday, shooting a 62. He couldn't match that scorching pace on Saturday, though he did enough to remain atop the leaderboard at the AT&T Byron Nelson in McKinney, Texas. 

Burns shot a 3-under 69 in the third round to move to 20 under, just one stroke ahead of K.H. Lee and three strokes ahead of Jordan Spieth, Charl Schwartzel, Matt Kuchar and Alex Noren. 


The lowest 54-hole score to par in @ATTByronNelson history. ✔️@SamBurns66 has a 1 shot lead at -20. pic.twitter.com/ibDduVXkOX

That sets up what should be a tight, compelling final round on Sunday. 

Burns finished his day with five birdies and two bogeys, averaging 295.8 yards of driving distance, a 50 percent driving accuracy, hit 61.1 percent of his greens in regulation and lost 1.479 strokes putting, per PGATour.com


The par-5s are no match for @SamBurns66. 💪<br><br>Another birdie and his lead is back to two. pic.twitter.com/Kgxj16Om75

"I don't have to play perfect," Burns told reporters after Saturday's round. "Always felt for a long time I had to play perfect on Sunday to win. That's just not the case. You're going to make mistakes. You need to limit those, but, yeah, just go out there knowing I don't have to play perfect." 

Namely, can he hold off Spieth? All eyes will be on the star golfer to see if he can win his second tournament in as many months. His 66 on Saturday has him within striking distance. 


Three in a row. Three back. @JordanSpieth is rolling. pic.twitter.com/pDgXyzmwBr


ANOTHER walk-off eagle. 🦅<br><br>Go on, @JordanSpieth❗️ He's 2 back. pic.twitter.com/soaS0Hh10b

"I had only played two rounds of golf prior to this week in the last month, so there was going to be, I thought, shaking off a little bit of rust, and I feel like it's been pretty good," Spieth told reporters

A win for Burns would make him the first player to win his first PGA Tour events back-to-back since Camilo Villegas pulled off the feat in 2008. He won the Valspar Championship two weeks ago. 

A win for Spieth, meanwhile, would make him among the favorites—if not the favorite—for the upcoming PGA Championship. 

Of course, players like Lee, Kuchar and Schwartzel might yet interject. And spring storms always seem to play a part at the Byron Nelson, which could factor into Sunday's results as well. 


5 birdies in the last 7 holes. 👀<br><br>Matt Kuchar is making a run on Moving Day. 1 back. pic.twitter.com/h27j4bOVXJ

"If there are delays, you get pretty used to having to deal with delays,'' Kuchar told reporters. "Kind of expecting that tomorrow will be an on-again, off-again day.''

Expect plenty of drama, too.