PLANO, Texas – Last April, Ryan Burgess left Gleneagles Country Club with an obvious weakness: playing in the wind.
Burgess had entered the final round of the Under Armour/Hunter Mahan Championship just three shots off the lead and in the final group. His game fell apart that day in a strong Texas gale, and he fell all the way to T-12 with a final-round 81. The ordeal scared him.
“I couldn’t continue to play knowing that if there was any wind, I couldn’t play.”
A year later, Burgess is leaving Gleneagles with his first AJGA title. It changes the game in a lot of ways.
In his senior year at Torrey Pines High School (he practices at Rancho Santa Fe Country Club, not Torrey Pines, as he was quick to point out), Burgess had all but finished playing AJGA open events. It sits a lot better with the 17-year-old knowing that he’ll walk away from that era of his career with a title. He’s also looking forward to playing the invitationals. That and attempting to qualify for the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur.
“It’s very important,” Burgess said of this victory. “I’ve never really played that well in AJGA events -- as well as I feel like I could have and should have.”
The Hunter Mahan is Burgess’ first AJGA top 10. He built a lead during the 36-hole Day 1 with rounds of 75-70 on the par-71 layout. After a four-hour weather delay Sunday morning, the final round was shortened to nine holes. Burgess shot an even-par 37 to extend his margin of victory to three over runner-up Hayden Wood.
“You have to play smart off the tee and get on the green, the greens aren’t too hard to putt on,” he said of Gleneagles.
The past year’s progress shows Burgess is coachable, so it’s hard telling how much more he could grow as a player under SMU head coach Josh Gregory’s wing. Burgess picked the school for that very reason.
“I feel like I’m going to develop as a player there.”
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