Former LSU star among 3 who holed eagles Saturday at Honda Classic


Three shots were holed from the fairway on par-4 holes for eagles at the Honda Classic Saturday, one of them by a young man who just might be the next big thing in golf: Sam Burns.

Burns, 21, made a last-minute switch from an 8- to a 9-iron and holed out on No. 12 from 151 yards. His feat was matched by Tommy Fleetwood, who found the cup from 140 yards on No. 4, and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, whose second shot of the day at No. 1 rolled in from 123 yards.

Burns, who is playing only his seventh PGA Tour event and 10th since turning pro following his sophomore year at LSU, has matched Tiger Woods’ score in each of the three rounds this week. Both are tied for 11th at even par and will be paired in today’s final round, teeing off at 12:45 p.m.

Burns set the LSU scoring record last year with an average score of 73.04, prompting coach Chuck Winstead to call it “as good as any year in our program’s history.” Burns then won the Jack Nicklaus Award, given annually to the nation’s top college player.

While he’s missed the cut in four of the seven Tour events he’s played, he also finished sixth in the Barbasol Championship and 20th in the Shriners Hospital event last year, and second in the Web.com Tour event in Colombia earlier this month.

“It was a tough decision for me to leave college,” he said, “but at the same time I wanted to come out and get my feet wet a little bit in professional golf.”

Burns bogeyed both par-3 holes on The Bear Trap Saturday and is 3-over on those holes through three days.

“It’s tough,” he said. “You don’t really get a break on those holes.

“It’s playing tough out there, (and) with the wind it makes it that much trickier. It’s tough anyway, but with the wind and how the greens are playing makes it a little bit tougher.”

Walker’s struggles continue: Jimmy Walker seemed to be hitting his stride as a pro in his mid-30s when he amassed six victories, including the 2016 PGA Championship, and more than $13 million in winnings from 2014-16. Then a bite from an infected tick changed everything.

Walker and his wife, Erin, think the tick bite came during a hunting trip in November 2016. He was diagnosed with Lyme disease during Masters week last April and has been battling the effects - which include fever, headaches and chronic fatigue - ever since.

Walker, whose world ranking has dropped from as high as No. 10 to No. 87 during his battle with the disease, shot a 6-over 76 Saturday that included three bogeys and a double-bogey on the back nine. He was in no mood to talk afterward, leaving Erin, who was also diagnosed with the disease in November, to address the issue.

“It’s been rough,” she said. “(He’s) playing unbelievable golf for four or five years, and this has really derailed his career. But we feel like we’re on the right track; it just might take a while.”

Erin said her husband experienced more symptoms during the pro-am on Wednesday. He was symptom-free two weeks ago when he finished eighth at Pebble Beach, his best finish since the diagnosis.

“That was a week where things came together,” said Erin, who said her illness was caught early enough that she’s been doing much better lately.

“Again, at the pro-am on Wednesday he didn’t feel great, but for the most part it went well. So, we’re working on it. We’ll get it figured out. It just takes time.”



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