Sam Burns secured the 2023 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play title in style, storming to a 6&5 victory over Cameron Young in the final having ended World Number One Scottie Scheffler’s title defence earlier in the day.
The 26-year-old American found himself behind early on against Young but responded brilliantly, winning four holes in a row from the fifth to turn the match on its head at Austin Country Club.
He kept his foot on the gas after the turn, with wins at the tenth and 12th stretching his lead to five, and the contest ended at the 13th as Burns’ eighth birdie of the match wrapped up a convincing win.
Rory McIlroy came out on top in his heavyweight clash with World Number One Scottie Scheffler in the consolation match, winning 2&1 to finish third, and moves to the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex.
Earlier in the day, Burns had beaten his close friend Scheffler in a back-and-forth semi-final encounter which was decided at the third play-off hole. Young, meanwhile, defeated McIlroy at the first extra hole in their evenly-matched contest.
Sam Burns: “What a week. I’m so tired. I felt like I found something towards the end of my match with Scottie and was able to carry that on this afternoon.
“It means a lot. I’ve been in a play-off in a WGC before and I ultimately did not get it done.
“So to have the opportunity today – very honoured to have that opportunity to compete against Cam, who is one of the best players in the world. I’m very pleased.
“It would be a dream come true (to make the USA Ryder Cup team). Being on the Presidents Cup team and having that experience was unbelievable. It’s such a fun experience being on a team with those guys and world-class players and to be able to learn from them and have that experience with them. So, yeah, it would be a dream come true to be on the team.”
Cameron Young: “I think I probably shot about 35 under par for the seven rounds. Obviously frustrating to lose today, but I definitely played a lot of good golf and I think my game’s in a really good spot for the next few weeks.”
Rory McIlroy: “Yeah, a ton of positives to take away. I think Scottie and I were both disappointed that we lost our matches this morning. It was a bit of a pillow fight there for quite a bit of the match. But we produced some good golf on that back nine and we created some birdies. Yeah, tons of positives.
“If you had told me that I would make it to the Sunday of the match play last week, I would have taken that. I had my chances against Cam this morning, just couldn’t quite put him away. But it was nice to come out here and get a win this afternoon.
“The driver’s definitely better. I thought the putter looked pretty good for the most part. I felt like I progressed with the putter as the week went on. The short game was sharp. So all in all I thought most aspects of the game were in good shape.
“I think next week’s about resting, recovering, but then also looking ahead to see what sort of shots I’m going to need for Augusta and sort of work on those. I’ve worked with, I look at the stats sort of after every week and I’ll analyse where my game’s good, where it maybe needs some improvement and then I’ll sort of marry that to the statistical profile of Augusta National and what I need to do well there and I’ll plan my practice for the week and there we go.”
Scottie Scheffler: “This morning, I played pretty solid. Sam obviously got off to a hot start and played really good pretty much the whole day. He went out there and beat me at the end. I didn’t lose it to him. So props to him. This afternoon, I just had some trouble focusing. I like to show up and do my best, but it was definitely a challenge this afternoon. It was a weird feeling playing for third place. But at the end of the day, you got to show up and hit the shots and I showed up and I didn’t the first six holes. I was three down again.
“So I did my best to fight back, but, yeah, just sometimes the putts look like they’re going in, they don’t, and sometimes they do and you win. And then this is one of those weeks where they didn’t and you end up in fourth. So I’m very happy with how the week went. I did a good job of fighting all week without my best game and it was definitely fun being back here in Austin.”