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‘Eight in eight days’: Sam Burns (65) puts vacation weight to use in opening round of FEC

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Some people need a few days to get back into the swing of things after vacation, but Sam Burns only needed four holes to dust off his clubs after two weeks away.

Following a T-42 finish at The Open, Burns took a vacation ahead of the FedExCup Playoffs, leaving his clubs behind for trips to Greece and Park City, Utah, and bringing back some added pounds in their stead.

“We were in Greece for a week after The Open with Scottie (Scheffler) and his wife and my wife, and then we got home and went to Park City, Utah,” Burns said after Round 1 of the FedEx St. Jude Championship on Thursday. “One of my best friends growing up got married, so we went up there for a few days. Last week, trying to get back in shape a little bit after I gained a lot of weight on vacation ­– eight (pounds) in eight days.”

You wouldn’t think taking an extended period off and gaining weight bodes well for your game, but for Burns, it resulted in a bogey-free opening 5-under 65.

The third-ranked player in the field and world No. 11 started clean on the back nine with three pars before notching his first birdie of the day at the par-4 13th. He would go on to add five more birdies to enter the clubhouse at T-5.

Burns is guaranteed a spot in the Tour Championship in two weeks thanks to his regular season performance, so that’s contributing to a more relaxed approach.

“I think being a little bit higher up now in the FedExCup, securing a spot in Atlanta, definitely gives me a little bit more freedom in this first event, just in the sense that I have some security in the year-long race,” the 26-year-old said.

Full-field scores from FedEx St. Jude Championship

As for the vacation eight, Burns has probably already lost much of the added fun. If he hasn’t, it might be contributing to some notable driving improvements. He ranks 37th on Tour this season in driving distance at an average of 308.3 yards, but he added about eight yards to that average on Thursday, hovering at 316.6 yards in Round 1.

There’s a lot of talk about world and FedExCup No. 1 Scheffler and No. 2 Cameron Smith, which is justified, but keep an eye out for the built Mr. Burns.