PGA Junior: Kristen Gillman, Sam Burns victorious in Texas
BRYAN, Texas (August 1, 2014) – Kristen Gillman of Austin, Texas, put together a record-breaking performance to win the girls’ division, while Sam Burns of Shreveport, La., claimed the boys’ division title on Friday at the 39th Junior PGA Championship presented by Under Armour and Genesis Networks.

Gillman’s four-day total of 16-under-par 268 at Miramont Country Club broke the previously held girls’ division mark of 271 set by Aree Song of Thailand in 1999. Gillman finished 11 strokes ahead of runner-up Bethany Wu (279) of Diamond Bar, Calif., while Hannah O’Sullivan of Paradise Valley, Ariz., finished third at 280.

Burns, who earlier in the day took the 54-hole lead after rain and thunderstorms halted play Thursday afternoon, held off a hard-charging Gordon Neale of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., by two strokes to win the Jack Nicklaus Trophy. Burns shot a final-round 71 for a 10-under-par 274 total. Austin Connelly of Irving, Texas, and Brad Dalke of Hobart, Okla., tied for third at 277.

Gillman shared the lead after 54 holes in the 2013 Junior PGA Championship, ultimately finishing in a tie for third. In the final round today, she shot 5-under-par 66 to win the Patty Berg Trophy in her third Championship appearance.

“I went to the final hole one back last year [2013 Junior PGA Championship] and I still felt like there were some shots I left on the golf course, which would have given me a chance to win or at least get me in a playoff,” said Gillman. “I wanted to get revenge this year.”

Gillman entered the final round with a six-stroke lead and never let up.

“I tried not to change my game plan in the final round even though I had the big lead,” said Gillman. “I wanted to keep making a lot of birdies and not make many mistakes. I’m actually still in shock I won, it hasn’t all sunk in quite yet.”

In the boys’ division, Burns built his lead to six strokes on the front nine, with birdies on the par-5 first and the par-4 eighth. However, he made consecutive bogeys at Nos. 12 and 13, shrinking his lead to just one stroke.

But a string of five straight pars to finish the Championship was enough for Burns to claim the title.

“I started hot on the front nine with a few key birdies,” said Burns. “I hit a tough stretch, but I was ultimately able to keep it together and it feels so good.”

Burns, who earlier this summer won the AJGA’s Tournament of Champions, was overwhelmed by the victory.

“I’m really speechless and incredibly honored to have had the success I’ve had this summer,” said Burns. “If you would have told me at the beginning of the summer I’d be in this position, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

Neale, who held the 36-hole lead, closed with a 67 to finish as the runner-up in his first appearance in the Championship.

Defending boys’ division champion Tyler McDaniel of Manchester, Ky., shot a final-round 68 and finished in a tie for seventh place.

In addition to claiming their 2014 Junior PGA Championship titles, Gillman and Burns earn an exemption on the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour in 2015.

Burns will compete at the 2015 Valero Texas Open, March 26-29, at TPC San Antonio in Texas, while Gillman will play in the 2015 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, April 24-27, at Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco, Calif.

Gillman and Burns join girls’ division runner-up Bethany Wu and boys’ division runner-up Gordon Neale on the 2014 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team, which will face Europe, Sept. 22-23, at Blairgowrie Golf Club in Perthshire, Scotland.

photo, story courtesy of PGA of America

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