July 12, 2012 – Alexandria, LA — Sam Burns of Shreveport fired a 3-under par 69 to win the 2012 Louisiana Golf Association Junior Amateur Championship by nine strokes. Burns went wire-to-wire, leading after every round. He dominated the first two rounds, posting 67-68, 135 (9-under par) which gave him a four-shot lead heading into Friday’s final round. That lead allowed the talented ball-striker to play consistent golf on Friday and win his first Junior Amateur Championship. His 12-under par 204 is tied for the best score ever posted in this Championship, which was conducted for the first time in 1958. Last year’s champion, Chuck Spears of Pineville, set the bar high by getting to 12-under par, and Burns was able to match it. Thankfully, Mother Nature allowed this record-tying performance to come to fruition.
A large storm cell moved over central Louisiana Friday morning, and Alexandria was right in its path. Unfortunately for the junior golfers looking to play their final round, the chance to compete one more time for the title of best junior golfer in the state seemed to be out of their control. Tee times began at 7:30 AM, and several groups of golfers were able to begin their round. However, soon thereafter the thunder began to roll and electricity around the golf course quickly began to increase. At 8:20 AM, the Tournament Committee sounded the air-horns for a dangerous situation, and play was suspended. Just as it began to look like Burns would win the Championship without having to hit a single shot in competition Friday, the clouds parted and the sun came out. The final round resumed on a four hour delay. The rest of the afternoon was quite pleasant, and the juniors took advantage of the soft conditions of the course, with eight scores posted under par. Ironically, this is the first time in 5 years that the champion has not come from the Alexandria area, the site of this year’s Championship.
As previously mentioned, Burns entered the day with a four shot lead and methodically lengthened the gap between himself and second-place finisher Shane Fontenot of Lake Charles. He played steady golf on the front nine, with a bogey on the par 4 3rd hole. He answered with a birdie on the par 5 7th to make the turn at even par. Burns went low on the back nine as he’s done all week, with a bogey and four birdies on #10, #13, #15, #17, bringing his back nine total to 33.
Fontenot finished at three-under par 213 with Blake Gautreaux of Prairieville and Nathan Jeansonne of Keithville tied for third at one-over par 217. Cody Maxwell of Denham Springs and Jacob Going tied for fifth at 218, two-over par.
The remainder of the Top Ten finishers included: T7. Peyton McCulloch of Zachary, 69/219, T7. Ryan Alford of Shreveport, 73/219, T7. Evan Morse of Denham Springs 78/219, T10. Jeff Berry of Shreveport, 71/220, T10. Thomas Ruli, Jr. of Mandeville, 72/220, T10. Philip Barbaree of Shreveport 72/220.
Burns joins a select group, including Louisiana legends and PGA Tour veterans Hal Sutton, David Toms, Willie Wood, and Brain Bateman, as LGA Junior Amateur Champions.
Winners of the first and second flights in the overall championship were: 1st Flight – Payton LaPietra of Monroe/224, 2nd Flight – Zachary Ginn of Denham Springs/231.
This year’s Championship was played at Links on the Bayou in Alexandria. The Links on the Bayou course played to a par of 72 at approximately 6,750 yards for this field of the best junior players in the state.
The 2013 LGA Junior Amateur Championship will be held at TPC Louisiana in New Orleans.
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