In a dazzling display of skill, Sam Burns surged to the top of the leaderboard with a scintillating 11-under-par 61 in the US PGA Tour American Express tournament in La Quinta, California. The 27-year-old American now holds a one-stroke lead over Michael Kim, showcasing a career-best round and asserting his dominance on the course.
Burns, unaware that he was on the brink of the 13th sub-60 round in PGA Tour history, kickstarted his impressive performance with a 15-foot eagle at the par-five fourth hole on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. His remarkable round included birdies at the fifth, sixth, and seventh, followed by another eagle at the par-five 11th, where he left himself with a three-foot putt for eagle after a “perfect seven-iron” shot.
Maintaining a relentless pace, Burns secured additional birdies at 13, 14, 15, and 16 to secure the solo lead. Reflecting on his outstanding day, Burns stated, “Overall just a really solid day. I hit a lot of quality shots and was able to make some putts.” Despite his remarkable performance, Burns insisted he wasn’t thinking about a 59, staying focused on maintaining a competitive pace.
Korean-born American Michael Kim trailed closely with a nine-under-par 63, accumulating 128 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Meanwhile, South Korean Lee Kyoung-hoon matched Kim’s impressive performance with an eight-under 64, sharing third place with amateur Nick Dunlap at 15-under 129. Dunlap, a University of Alabama sophomore and reigning US Amateur champion, expressed confidence in his performance, aiming to become the first amateur to win on the US PGA Tour since 1991.
World number six Patrick Cantlay led a group at 130, alongside 2021 champion Kim Si-woo, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Eric Cole, Alex Noren, and Adam Hadwin. Hadwin notably carded a 59 at La Quinta Country Club in 2017, adding to the excitement of what promises to be a fiercely contested final round on Sunday.