Sam Burns pursues return to form as he bids for Valspar Championship hat-trick

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Burns won his maiden Tour title on the Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead Course in 2021 and retained it the following year by beating fellow American Davis Riley in a play-off. The world number 15 will become the first player in more than a decade to win the same event three years in a row if he triumphs again on Sunday, although he comes into the week having posted just one top-10 finish so far this season. "I would say it hasn't been great so far," Burns said of his 2023 campaign in a pre-tournament press conference. "I think just a little bit of inconsistency. "But I think the important thing to remember is, as a player, it's never as far off as sometimes you feel that it is, and so I think just continuing to do the hard work and continuing to kind of stick to my process of trying to get better, and I know that at some point it will click and everything will come together. "So I think for me it's trying to not just look too far ahead and just try to get a little bit better each day. "(I have) lots of really great memories from the last couple years. But it feels good to be back. It doesn't seem like it was a year ago. It goes by quick."

Former Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker was the last player to win a PGA Tour event three years in a row, doing so at the John Deere Classic from 2009-2011. There have been 13 players with an opportunity to match Stricker since then, with nobody succeeding. Brooks Koepka came closest when he finished runner-up at Pebble Beach in 2019 in pursuit of a third straight US Open title.

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