LSU Golf, 2016-17 Corbett Award
Following what can best be described as the greatest individual year in LSU golf history, Shreveport’s Sam Burns has been honored as the 2017 James J. Corbett Award winner as the top male amateur in the state of Louisiana.
A graduate of Calvary Baptist Academy, Burns is the second golfer to win the prestigious Corbett Award following fellow Shreveport native, PGA Tour star and Major Champion Hal Sutton in 1980. Burns is the first LSU golfer to win the award.
It is the eighth time since 2000, when the award first honored both a male and a female that both were won by LSU athletes joining Ashleigh Gnat of LSU Gymnastics.
LSU Head Golf Coach Chuck Winstead described it this way, “What else can you say – the best season of any LSU golfer. It was an unbelievable year. His future is incredibly bright.”
Only a sophomore, Burns capped his season with the Tigers by being named the 2017 NCAA Division I Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year. He is the first LSU Tiger in history to be honored with this award that is considered the Heisman Trophy of college golf.
In addition to receiving the Nicklaus award, Burns received an exemption to the 2018 Memorial Tournament, an invitational tournament on the PGA Tour hosted by Jack Nicklaus himself. Burns also competed against the five other standouts from various college levels in the Barbasol Shootout for an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s Barbasol Championship. The Shootout was held at the storied Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio, where Jack Nicklaus first learned the game of golf.
Burns earned the spot firing a sizzling 5-under par 65, tying the Scioto club record for a competitive round. The Tour event was held July 20-23, at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Grand National in Opelika, Ala.
Burns was also named a PING First‐Team All‐America selection, LSU’s 11th First‐Team All‐American, and the SEC Player of the Year after placing in the top 10 in all 14 of his events prior to the NCAA Championships. He had four individual titles, including a win in the Baton Rouge NCAA Regional which keyed LSU’s first‐ever NCAA Regional Championship. He smashed the school’s single‐season scoring record with a stroke average of 70.05.
After the collegiate season, Burns led the United States collegians in the 2017 Arnold Palmer Cup, an annual Ryder Cup style event. The competition is against a team of college players from Europe. The U.S prevailed 19.5 to 11.5 points.
Burns will not turn pro until September because he still has several high-profile amateur events to play in this summer. After the USGA Amateur in August at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., he hopes to be named to another international team, the 2017 Walker Cup. That team will be announced after The Amateur and will compete against a team from Great Britain and Ireland.
The Walker Cup competition is between 10-man amateur teams representing the United States and Great Britain/Ireland. It will be held September 9-10 at Los Angeles Country Club North Course, only six miles from Riviera.
Coach Winstead continued about Sam’s year, “In a record‐breaking season Sam set a new bar of excellence with his consistent and dominant play throughout a long, nine‐month season.”
Burns himself wrote on Twitter, “Thank you LSU for the past two years and memories I will never forget. It was an honor to represent LSU and be able to play for the best university in the world. I am thankful for Coach (Chuck) Winstead and Coach (Garrett) Runion for believing in me and giving me this opportunity.”
“With that said, I will be foregoing my final two years (of college eligibility) and turning pro in September, but will always be a Tiger. Forever LSU!!!”
Story submitted by Rick Gaille of the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee.