No golfer in Minnesota has had a better summer than 17-year-old Sarah Burnham of Wayzata.
The hot streak began when Burnham won the State Junior Girls Tournament and soared to a peak recently when she won the State Open title.
The Junior championship was significant because Burnham’s opponents included all of the best high school golfers in the state, but that achievement paled in comparison to the State Open title, when Burnham played against the state’s best women pros and amateurs.
“It was amazing to win the State Open because there were so many good players,” said Burnham. “It definitely felt good.”
The State Open was contested at the Wilds in Prior Lake. After shooting a two-under-par 70 the first day, Burnham came back to set a course record with a five-under 67 the second day. “That was cool,” she said.
Burnham has always been one of the state’s best in her age group, but still, every golfer has ups and downs.
“At the very beginning of the summer I was struggling a little bit,” said Burnham. “But I was hitting my irons well and sticking a lot of pins.”
When her driving picked up and her putting stabilized, the Wayzata standout became dominant.
In addition to winning the State Open and the State Junior Girls Tournament, she played well in the State Amateur, where she tied for third place.
Year-round dedication to the game is one of the main factors in Burnham’s ongoing success. Last winter she played tournaments in California, Florida, Nevada and Texas. By doing well in those events, she won a golf scholarship to Michigan State University.
“I am really looking forward to playing there,” she said. “Michigan State has 36 holes on campus.”
Burnham said golf has always been her favorite sport.
“When I was younger, my dad [Kurt] made me try a lot of different sports,” she recalled. “Golf fit perfectly with my personality.”
As she moves forward in her career, Burnham’s next challenge will be a United States Golf Association team event next month in Ohio. One of her teammates will be Minnesota’s other 17-year-old phenom, Celia Kuenster of Cretin-Derham Hall.
“I am looking forward to it because I have never played in a USGA women’s team event before,” said Burnham.
Contact John Sherman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wayzata High golfer Sarah Burnham had the greatest win of her career recently when she took the State Open title at the Wilds in Prior Lake. (Submitted photo)