Sam Burns Holds On To Win The Thunderbird International Junior

Mika Liu takes home Girls Division title in third appearance at Grayhawk

Sam Burns of Shreveport, Louisiana, made a clutch birdie on the final hole to win by a stroke over the hard-charging Braden Thornberry. After the dust settled, Burns fired a 2-under-par 70 to win the event with a tournament total 11-under-par 205. In the Girls Division, Mika Liu of Beverly Hills, California, claimed the top spot with a 4-under-par 212 performance for the 54-hole competition.

Burns entered the final round with a two-stroke lead over the field, although he felt them nipping at his heels from the start. Showing that he belongs in the No. 1 spot in the Polo Golf Rankings, Burns held on for the win.

“It means a lot to me to win since it’s one of my last AJGA tournaments,” said Burns, who will play at Louisiana State University in the fall. “I had to focus on my game and get myself as many opportunities to birdie as possible. I think if you do that out here you can score pretty well. Last year I had the same deal where I was leading after two rounds and lost it, but I wasn’t going to let that happen this year.”

Burns outlasted a hot Thornberry who fired a low final-round, 5-under 67 – including six birdies on the front nine and an ace at the par-3 8th the day before. He went on to card a 10-under-par 206 performance for the tournament.

The Girls Division Champ, Liu made back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15 to secure her third AJGA victory and second title in as many weeks after winning the inaugural U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball title.

“Every time I come to this tournament it is really special to me,” Liu said. “After three years of playing here I finally grabbed the title. My strengths today were hitting it on the fairways and hitting on the greens. I was just conserving myself to not get in trouble, make pars, and grabbing birdie opportunities when I could.”