NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Sam Burns of Shreveport, Louisiana, won the Rolex Tournament of Champions in record-breaking fashion after posting a 21-under-par 267 at Richland Country Club. In the Girls Division, Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach, California, earned her first AJGA Invitational win after carding an 11-under-par 277.
Begun in 1978, the Rolex Tournament of Champions is one of the two longest-running AJGA events. Nine of the top 20 girls in the Polo Golf Rankings and 10 of the top 20 boys competed. Past winners of the Rolex Tournament of Champions include Inbee Park, David Duval, Heather Farr, Charles Howell III, Morgan Pressel, Webb Simpson, two-time winner Beth Bauer and three-time victor Phil Mickelson.
With his tournament total of 21-under-par 267, Burns set a new AJGA 72-hole scoring. Matthew Rosenfeld set the previous record of 16-under-par 268 at the 2001 CB&I Boys Championship at Carlton Woods. Burns also set a new Rolex Tournament of Champions 72-hole scoring. The mark was previously set at 12-under-par and achieved by Mickelson in 1987, Randy Lowry in 2002 and Jamie Lovemark in 2004. In addition to Burns setting the new record, all of the top-five boys finishers posted scores above the original mark.
The Boys Division race was heated throughout the final round as the top-four finishers all shot 4-under-par or better in their final 18 holes. During the final round, Burns carded three birdies and two eagles, sealing his victory with an eight-foot eagle putt on No. 18. The three-time Rolex Tournament of Champions competitor was relieved to finally win the event.
“To finally win after three years is unreal for me; I can’t even put it into words,” Burns said. “I think going through the other tournaments I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned to play more under pressure and I think once you go through that a few times and know how that feels, it makes it a lot easier the next time you have to do it.”
Adam Wood of Zionsville, Indiana, climbed up the leaderboard during the final round by carding an 8-under-par 64 and tying the Richland Country Club competitive course record. Wood started the round seven strokes off the lead, came to within one stroke of Burns on No. 18 and concluded play at 18-under-par 270 to take second.
First-round leader Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge, California, also posted an 8-under-par 64 with four birdies and two eagles to take third at 17-under-par 271. Doug Ghim of Arlington Heights, Illinois notched six birdies to no bogeys to finish in fourth with a 16-under-par 272. William Register of Burlington, North Carolina, rounded out the top-five boys with a fifth-place finish at 14-under-par 274.
In the Girls Division, Lee earned her first AJGA Invitational win after previously posting 12 top-10 finishes at AJGA Invitationals. Lee capitalized on her third-round lead to stay well ahead of the competition, ending with a tournament total of 11-under-par 277, eight strokes ahead of the field. Ranked No. 1 in the Polo Golf Rankings, Lee notched four birdies during the final 18 holes of play, including back-to-back on Nos. 10 and 11. She was ecstatic to bring home her first title.
“It’s amazing and I’m so happy right now,” Lee said. “There were a lot of bittersweet moments for me at all of the other AJGA Invitationals. I’ve come up runner-up so many times and to finally be able to win is just an amazing feeling.”
Lee believes that achieving her goal of winning an Invitational will help her to continue to advance her golf career.
“My goal this year or next is to try and get Rolex Junior Player of the Year, so to win this one, it’s possible for me to do it as long as I keep doing what I’m doing,” the three-time Rolex Junior All-American said.
Alice Jo of Shanghai, China, and Robynn Ree of Redondo Beach, California, tied for second at 3-under-par 285.
For more information about the Rolex Tournament of Champions, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.
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ABOUT THE AJGA Tournament of Champions
One of the AJGA series of tournaments that
require an invitation to participate. Format is
holes of stroke play.
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