LAS VEGAS — Sam Burns won the Sanderson Farms Championship last week and is trying to put it behind him. He’s playing as though it never ended.
Burns made a pair of 6-foot par putts on the only two greens he missed in regulation and ran off eight birdies in the morning for an 8-under 63 that left him a shot behind Sungjae Im and Chad Ramey on Friday in the Shriners Children’s Open.
Not only has Burns won twice in the last six months, he also lost in a playoff at a World Golf Championship and finished one shot out of a playoff at Riviera this year. The 25-year-old is comfortable at the top, and it’s showing.
The key to this week was not to let last week linger.
“What we tried to do is just last week is last week,” Burns said. “This week is Shriners and preparing for this week, trying to make sure Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday that we are giving ourselves the best opportunity to play well this week.
“Obviously, [incredibly] honored that I won last week and such a fun time, but just trying to kind of leave that there.”
Im and Ramey each closed their afternoon rounds with birdies on the par-5 ninth, with Ramey making a 13-footer after hitting his approach into the right greenside bunker.
They were at 14-under 128 at the TPC Summerlin, each opening 63-65 on a course that was doused with rain.
Im won the Honda Classic last year for his first PGA Tour title.
“There’s two days left to play, so I like to try to keep focused on my game and try to take it one shot at a time,” the 23-year-old South Korean player said. “It’s going to be difficult if it’s windy. I have to be more strategic to the course management.”
Ramey is making his third start of the year and fifth in his PGA Tour career. The 29-year-old former Mississippi State player earned his tour card this year through the Korn Kerry Tour.
“The first tournament of the year I didn’t drive it very good and didn’t putt it very good,” Ramsey said. “So, the last few weeks I’ve kind of been hitting those points pretty hard, and I’ve kind of feel like I got it back under myself a little better right now. I hit it really well off the tee and I’m making putts. You can’t ask for much more.”
Adam Schenk had a 65 to match Burns at 13 under. Aaron Wise was another stroke back after a 62.
Matthew Wolff (67), who lost in a playoff last year, was 11 under with Honda Classic winner Matt Jones (67), Adam Hadwin (64), Andrew Putnam (64), Slovakian silver medalist Rory Sabbatini (66), Harry Hall (65) and Talor Gooch (67).
Sung Kang followed an opening 61 with a 73 to fall six shots back at 8 under. Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka shot a 67 to get to 7 under.
While Burns remained hot, that wasn’t the case with some others who contended last week at the Country Club of Jackson. Cameron Young, a runner-up last week, and 54-hole leader Sahith Theegala missed cut by a stroke, each shooting 70-68.
They had company. Rickie Fowler managed a 66, but also fell a stroke short of the weekend as he tries to find his game. Scottie Scheffler, unbeaten in three matches in his Ryder Cup debut two weeks ago, also dropped out.
Burns played well in the opening round too, except for the par-3 17th when he slightly pulled his tee shot into the water and made double bogey. There were no such issues in the second round. He was efficient as ever and remained dialed in with his irons.
Only two of his eight birdies were outside about 6 feet. He two-putted his final hole, the par-5 ninth, from 35 feet.