With a throng of contenders targeting their maiden Tour win, Burns ran off four birdies in a six-hole stretch at the Country Club pf Jackson in Mississippi to give himself a decisive advantage.

Burns seized control with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-3 13th, a 5-iron to 15 feet that set up a two-putt birdie on the next hole and then a perfect pitch from behind the green on the reachable par-4 15th for a tap-in birdie.

Staked to a two-shot lead going down the 18th, he took a safe bogey from the greenside bunker for a five-under 67 and a total of 22-under 266.

Resurgent Nick Watney and PGA Tour rookie Cameron Young were next best.

Watney, coming off his worst season in more than a decade, closed with a 65 and had his best finish in more than three years.

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Young's hopes began to fade on the 14th with a clunker out of the rough into a fairway bunker that led to him having to make a four-footer for bogey.

Still, he made a slick up-and-down from off the 18th green for par that gave him a 68 and a share of second, which sets him up well for the season.

That starts with playing next week in Las Vegas instead of having to go through Monday qualifying.

Another to earn a spot in the field for the next PGA Tour event was Sahith Theegala, the California rookie who began the final round with a one-shot lead.

He struggled on the back nine on Sunday to close with a 71 and a share of eighth at 19-under.

For Burns, the 25-year-old from Louisiana is just starting to cash in.

He won the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook in the spring and has had more chances than that throughout the year, losing a playoff in a World Golf Championship in August and coming up one shot away from a playoff at Riviera in February.

Now with his second win of the year – in his first start of the new season – Burns moves into the top-20 in the world rankings for the first time.