The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

June 15, 2014

Mike Mastovich | Juniors bring fresh flavor to 61st Amateur

JOHNSTOWN — The Sunnehanna Amateur Tournament for Champions has attracted some of the best young golfers in the game during the past six decades.

Tiger Woods was a teenager when he played the Sunnehanna Country Club course.

Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples and Rickie Fowler also made their marks here early in their distinguished careers.

Sam Burns and a strong group of juniors took a step toward adding to that legacy during the 61st Sunnehanna Amateur.

The 17-year-old Burns finished as runner-up to Will Murphy after a three-hole playoff on Saturday. The two finished in a tie at 6-under-par 274 after the final round.

Burns displayed poise and showed a competitive spirit. He often played and acted like a veteran of the tournament.

When someone asked Burns if he could have envisioned playing among such a strong field of amateur golfers and being in contention to win, he replied:

“No doubt, I prepared to come up here and beat all of these guys.”

Burns continued, “To finish second is not what I wanted but it’s not a missed cut. It’s a good thing to move on from. You can miss a cut and be upset but to finish second is something to be positive about.”

Burns talked about coming back next year and finishing the job.

It would be great to see him return to the Westmont course in 2015.

Burns already has won three Louisiana high school state championships. He still has his senior season in front of him. Louisiana State University thinks so much of his game, Burns is a recruit set to join the Tiger program in 2015.

“He’s a great player,” said Sunnehanna champion Murphy, a standout at the University of South Carolina. “When I was that age, I couldn’t have dreamed of even playing in this tournament let alone competing.

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