THOMPSONVILLE – Former Michigan State University star Sarah Burnham shot a sizzling 9-under 63 and ran away with the 27th Michigan PGA Women’s Open Championship Wednesday on the Mountain Ridge course at Crystal Mountain.
The 24-year-old second-year LPGA Tour player from Maple Grove, Minn., was just one shot short of the tournament and course record and totaled 18-under 198 to set a 54-hole scoring record for the championship. She was also 10 shots better than her three closest pursuers and won $6,500 of the $40,000 purse.
Burnham, who has won three mini-tour events this spring in Arizona and Florida, rolled in a 7-iron shot from 145 yards on the par 4 third hole for an eagle-2 and was off to the races with seven birdies and the eagle.
“I feel like I was a little lucky,” she said. “I felt like I was hitting it well, but when it went in for my eagle early I was just able to play comfortable and confident and try to shoot a great round.”
She was just one-shot short of the single-round scoring record 62 set in the first round of the 215 championship by Kimberly Dinh of Midland, but raced past the previous 54-hole tournament scoring record of 12-under, which was tied last year by winner Anika Dy of Traverse City.
Liz Nagel of DeWitt, another LPGA Tour player and the 2018 Michigan PGA Women’s Open champion, shot 68 for 8-under 208 and tied for second with Symetra Tour player and former Ohio State standout Jessica Porvasnik of Hinckley, Ohio, who shot 70, and Emma Jandel, a former LPGA player from Sandy Springs, Ga., who shot 71.
Allie White, a Symetra Tour player from Athens, Ohio, shot 67 for 209 and fifth place.
Sarah Shipley of Hastings, a University of Kentucky golfer, was the low amateur in the championship with a 70 for 210. She tied for sixth place with LPGA player Kendall Dye of Edmond, Okla., who closed with a 67.
Burnham, who started the day with a one-shot lead on Nishtha Madan of Grand Rapids, had a five-shot lead by the eighth hole and continued to pull away with a 4-under 32 on the back nine.
“I knew how far ahead I guess I was at the turn, but I just was like, I’m here to play golf and I’m playing the golf course so let’s see how well I can end up playing,” she said. “I didn’t want any bad mistakes to happen so I just kept playing my game.”
She lauded the smooth greens at Crystal Mountain, which hosted the championship for the 18th consecutive year, and said it was great being back in Michigan with several of her former teammates and Big Ten friends in the field.
“It’s one of my biggest wins and I’m hoping it will bring me some confidence out on tour,” she said. “I hope to come back if it works in my schedule. This is my second time here at Crystal Mountain. I love it, I would actually want to come in the winter sometime, go skiing or snowboarding. It’s so beautiful up here and the golf course is great as well.”
Nagel, another former Michigan State standout, said Burnham played an amazing tournament, and she was surprised to be tied for second.
“Got some of the rust off,” she said. “I haven’t played competitively since February, so it was good to be out and play and feel those competitive feelings. I think we’re all happy to be here considering the circumstances. I didn’t have my best stuff to keep up with Sarah, but she has been playing and winning on the Cactus Tour (Arizona) and in Florida so she was trending toward something like this.”
ATTACHED: An action photo of champion Sarah Burnham from Wednesday. A trophy shot is available upon request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN: Crystal Mountain was established in 1956, and is a family-owned, four-season resort that is nationally recognized for its skiing, golf, and award-winning spa. Located in northwest-lower-Michigan, a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the resort features downhill and cross-country skiing, the Michigan Legacy Art Park, 36 holes of championship golf on two courses, Michigan’s only alpine slide, an outdoor water playground, a variety of lodging and dining options, year-round activities and kids programs, an IACC-approved conference center, weddings, real estate and the Crystal Spa. Visit crystalmountain.com.