Aloha! BYU wins John Burns Intercollegiate on Kauai in record-setting fashion
18 Feb 2023
by Jim Young of AmateurGolf.com
Birdies and eagles were plentiful on the Ocean Course at Hokuala where BYU broke the John A. Burns Intercollegiate scoring record to capture the team title while reigning U.S. Amateur champion Sam Bennett of Texas A&M shared medalist honors with Cal's Sampson Zheng.
Behind four players who finished in the top 10, the Cougars set a new team scoring record at 54-under 810 to win the team title by 18 strokes over second-place Arizona while Texas A&M's final round of 21-under 832 moved the Aggies into third place.
The Cougars posted the lowest single-round score in school history at 22-under in the final round to pull away from three top-25 teams on its way to winning their fourth John Burns team title and first since 2007.
“They started off the tournament by making birdies and just kept going,” said BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank. “The guys hit the driver great all week, hit some really good iron shots, putted the lights out and it is extremely fun to watch these guys make putts.”
Sampson Zheng and Sam Bennett
Fifth-year senior Carson Lundell (-17; t-3), Hawaiian-born Keanu Akina (-14; 5th), David Timmons (-10; t-10th) and Tyson Shelley (-10; t-10th) did most of the heavy lifting for BYU, which rolled in 81 birdies and eight eagles on the week.
Bennett, the reigning U.S. Amateur Champion and 2022 SEC Golfer of the Year, shot 61 with 11 birdies and no bogeys in his final round with Zheng, who crashed the winner's circle by collecting three birdies and an eagle over his final six holes to earn a share the individual title.
A day after Long Beach State’s Ian Gilligan set the Ocean Course at Hōkūala course record with an 11-under 61, Bennett matched it with a flawless round that saw the Madisonville, Texas native birdied seven of his first eight holes out of the gate. After turning in 30, Bennett picked up four more birdies on his inward nine - including his 11th of the day on 18 - to seal his fifth collegiate victory.
Zheng was on the outside looking in before catching a heater over the last six holes in which he made three birdies and an eagle for a final round of 65 to match Bennett at 18-under, earning the first victory of his collegiate career.
It marks the second consecutive year a Cal player has earned medalist honors at the John Burns Intercollegiate following Aaron Du's victory a year ago.
Gilligan, who opened with a 61 on Wednesday, finished one off the pace at 17-under.