WGC Match Play: Sam Burns rolls past Cam Young after semifinal battle to grab 5th career win

It took a long semifinal rally over the top-ranked player in the world to get there, but Sam Burns officially claimed his fifth career PGA Tour win on Sunday afternoon in Austin.

Burns surged ahead in the back half of his championship match with Cameron Young to win the final playing of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club. Burns won 6-and-5.

Young got the jump early, and took a 1-up lead after a birdie at the second. Burns, however, closed out his front nine with four birdies in his final six holes to flip the match and suddenly take a three-hole lead. He was seen snacking on an "Uncrustables" early during that stretch, too, which seemed to only help his birdie run.

Burns then opened the back nine with three straight birdies, which pushed his lead to five with just six holes remaining.

Then for good measure, Burns nearly drove the short par-4 13th and would have tapped in for birdie to seal the win, but Young conceded. He made eight birdies in his final 10 holes of the day.

“I’m so tired. That was fun playing Cam today,” Burns said on NBC. “I know he didn’t have his best stuff, but it was a great match … I felt like I kind of found something in my match this morning with Scottie, and I was able to carry that into the afternoon.”

Burns has now won five times on the PGA Tour. He won three times last season, most recently at the Sanderson Farms Championship, and has a pair of top-10 finishes already this season. He finished alone in sixth last week at the Valspar Championship .

Young is still searching for his first career win after what has been a painful collection of runner-up finishes for the 25-year-old. Young finished in second five times last season, including at the British Open, and finished T3 at the PGA Championship.

Both Burns and Young needed extra holes in their semifinal matches to get past Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy, respectively, which marked the first time that’s happened in tournament history.

Burns had to rally late to get past Scheffler. After falling 2-down through 12 holes, Burns climbed back suddenly to 1-up by the time they got to the 18th. It wasn’t until the 21st hole that Burns finally sank a nearly 15-foot birdie putt to seal the win.

Scheffler had a chance to end it on the second extra hole, but he missed a 4-footer.

“I struggled midway through the round, but just was able to battle back and kept myself in it and you know, at the end of the day, it came down to making putts,” Burns said after his semifinal match.

Young was down two holes with just three to play in his semifinal match with McIlroy, too, but he birdied two of the final three to force extra holes — thanks to errant drives from McIlroy on the 16th and 18th. Young then sank a birdie putt on their first extra hole to end the match.

“I just didn’t do enough over those last four holes to close him out and when you don’t do that and you’re up against a player of Cam’s caliber, that’s what’s going to happen,” McIlroy said.

McIlroy then beat Scheffler 2-and-1 in their consolation match to take third.

The WGC-Match Play is ending after this season. The tournament did not make the cut in the tour’s revamped schedule for 2024, meaning Burns will be the final winner. The tournament has been the only regular match-play event on tour over the past several decades. It is also the last standing World Golf Championships event left on the calendar as the WGC events are also likely going to dissolve.

Since Scheffler was knocked out before he could defend last year’s win in Austin, assuming the series isn't revived, Tiger Woods is the only player who successfully defended a WGC title in the history of the events. Woods did so eight different times.