Summer 2024

Sam Burns wins first PGA Tour event while helping 'Fill the Stadium'

Standing on the 18th tee on Sunday, Sam Burns still hadn’t processed what was about to happen.

“I think I was just so engaged in that shot that I’d kind of forgotten about everything else,” he told the Golf Channel. “That was a cool feeling for me and something I’ll never forget.”

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<

The 24-year-old was about to record his first win on the PGA Tour. He shot a three-under 68 on Sunday to secure a three-stroke victory at the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida. Burns entered the final round tied with Keegan Bradley, who finished in second. Burns posted scores under 70 all four rounds and shot 63 on Friday, which was tied for the best round of the tournament.

The victory came in his 76th career PGA Tour start after making his debut in 2017. He is now 44th in the World Golf Ranking and 14th in the FedEx Cup standings.

Burns’ family was on hand to witness the victory, making it even more special.

“We can’t change God’s timing, and I feel that way about this,” his dad, Todd Burns, said in an interview with the Golf Channel. “He’s had a couple of close ones this year already that just didn’t quite happen. But today he finished it, so it was his time today.”

A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Burns stayed close to home for college and attended LSU. The school celebrated his win with a message on the Tiger Stadium scoreboard:

The first thing listed in Burns’ Twitter and Instagram bios, though, is “Christ Follower.” He says golf is not who he is, just what he does.

Showing his heart for others, Burns joined a group of current and former professional athletes earlier this year in supporting Compassion International’s “Fill the Stadium” initiative, which seeks to provide food, medical supplies and other forms of support to children and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The goal is to reach 70,000 children and “fill” an average-size NFL stadium to help make up for sponsorship events that had to be canceled. More than 50,000 of the seats have been filled so far.

Burns saw “Fill the Stadium” as a way to give back to those less fortunate and live out his calling as a child of God.

“This past year, everyone has experienced some type of adverse change in their lives due to the pandemic,” he said. “The children who are being helped by the Fill the Stadium team experienced changes that were devastating. They need to have those negative changes reversed – this effort is truly making a difference in the lives of these children. Joining my fellow athletes at Compassion International is a way for me to support this critical change, and to serve God as well.”

To learn more about Fill the Stadium or to make a donation, visit

Stewart Cink wins PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage, says his ‘peace and joy’ is in Christ
Sports world offers prayers for Tiger Woods following roll-over car accident
Full-time LPGA Tour caddie Taneka Mackey leans on God through MS diagnosis
NEW PODCAST: NDSU Linebackers Coach Grant Olson & Pro Golfer Amy Olson
Amy Olson relies on Lord’s strength, finishes runner-up after father-in-law’s death