The Independence Bowl Foundation has announced that junior golfer Sam Burns as the 2014 Carl Mikovich Sportsperson of the Year.
Burns, a senior at Calvary Baptist, is ranked as the top male in the American Junior Golf Association’s Polo Golf Rankings, and ranked No. 4 in the Golfweek/Titleist Amateur Rankings.
“I am honored to be named the Duck Commander Independence Bowl Carl Mikovich Sportsperson of the Year,” Burns said. “This award marks one of the proudest achievements of my career thus far; not only does the title’s namesake make it especially honorable, but being in the company of other great sportsmen, like Hal Sutton and David Toms, makes it that much more meaningful to me.”
Burns put his talent on display during a memorable summer stretch, including victories at the 2014 Rolex Tournament of Champions and The 2014 Junior PGA Championship.
Along with the individual tournament victories, Burns helped lead the United States to a 16-8 victory against Europe in the Junior Ryder Cup on Sept. 22 and 23 at the Blairgowrie Golf Club in Perthshire, Scotland.
Burns etched his name in the record books at the Rolex Tournament of Champions, firing a 21-under-par 267 at the four-round event, breaking the AJGA 72-hole scoring record of 16-under-par, set by Matthew Rosefeld in 2001. He also torched the previous Rolex Tournament of Champions 72-hole record of 12-under-par, set by Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson in 1987, and achieved twice more by Randy Lowry in 2002 and Jamie Lovemark in 2004.
At the Junior PGA Championship, Burns saw a six-stroke lead on the back nine of the final round shrink to one, but he was able to hold on for the victory, which ensured him a spot on the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team. He also earned a spot in the field for the 2015 Valero Texas Open, a PGA event held in San Antonio on March 23-29.
He also put on an impressive show at the U.S. Amateur Championship in August, nearly upsetting the top ranked Amateur Ollie Schniederjans in match play. Burns trailed Schniederjans – a two-time All-American at Georgia Tech – by three strokes after the 12th hole, but rallied to win three of the final four holes to force sudden death. Scneiderjans took the match on the second sudden death hole.
Burns finished tied for third and posted a 36-hole score of 5-under-par in the stroke play portion of the event to advance to match play. He defeated Matt Nesmith, a second team all-SEC performer for South Carolina, 2&1 in
his first match.
At the Junior Ryder Cup, Burns and partner Andrea Lee overcame a three-hole deficit to score an early victory on the first day of competition, helping the Americans to a 7 ½ – 4 ½ lead. On the second day of competition, Burns rallied to win three-consecutive holes against Bradley Neil, which included sinking a 35-foot putt on the 18th hole to halve the match.
Burns has helped lead Calvary Baptist to three consecutive state championships, and has captured three individual state championships as well.
In November of 2013, Burns announced his intention to attend and continue his golf career at LSU.
Burns joins an impressive list of local sports figures to win the Sportsperson of the Year Award, including golfers Hal Sutton (1983) and David Toms (1997), as well as sportscaster Tim Brando (1992), MLB stars Todd Walker (1998) and Scott Baker (2007), and former NFL wide receiver Arnaz Battle (2002).
— Staff reports