CHASKA, Minn. -- Sarah Burnham received a loud ovation as she buried a five-foot putt for par on No. 9 on Sunday afternoon, June 23, at Hazeltine to finish 15 over par for the tournament, good for a tie for 78th place.
The ovation was a proper finish for the Maple Grove standout and Wayzata grad and represented a small sample of the support she received throughout the week playing in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in her home state.
“My 18th hole today was really cool,” said Burnham, the 2013 Minnesota high school champion. “Obviously, I didn’t play that well, but everyone just kept giving me all the support and I just can’t thank them enough. They think it’s cool that I’m here, and I think it’s really cool that I’m here, so it’s so cool to have them.”
This is Burnham’s first season with her LPGA Tour card. She missed the cut in each of her first five events and was on the verge of not qualifying for Minnesota’s major. But Burnham turned in her best LPGA performance to date last weekend, finishing in a tie for 33rd in the Meijer LPGA Classic. That earned her $13,208, which moved her up high enough on the money list to make the tournament, by $3.
“It meant a lot,” Burnham said of her appearance this week. “I know Minnesota, we don’t get a lot of events … so I really wanted to play in this. Just to be able to get my card and play in the major in my home state meant so much to me.”
Burnham hit the first tee shot of the tournament, then turned in a 1-under round Friday to make the cut on the number. That’s back-to-back cuts for the 23 year old, whose confidence is growing by the week.
“I didn’t play my best game out there — I know that,” Burnham said. “So I know I can just compete with the best in the world. If my game is on one week, I could be up on the leader board.”
Burnham said the weekend was an experience she’ll never forget.
“I’ve never experienced so many fans and support out there,” she said. “Just, truly, a thank you to all the Minnesotans out there.”
Asked when she’ll take a moment to sit back and soak in the week, Burnham said maybe Sunday evening. After that, it’s onto the next tournament.
“So just a quick turnaround,” she said. “(But) I’ll look back on this a long time as I get older in life.”
England’s Mel Reid turned in the round of the tournament Sunday, firing a 6-under 66 to boost herself up to 6 under for the tournament, good for a tie for third.
Reid noted she’d heard players complaining about how long Hazeltine played, a common sentiment shared by competitors, but she didn’t find that to be the case.
“When I saw the course and I saw the girls complaining, I actually thought, ‘Oh, this is perfect,’ ” Reid said. “Because I carry all the bunkers. I can hit it high, and I can stop on all these greens. So I actually felt pretty good going into this week.”
Reid said she’d “absolutely” be in favor of another LPGA Tour event, likely a major, returning to Chaska.
“Listen, KPMG and PGA of America, they always give out fantastic golf courses for us,” Reid said. “As girls, or women, we want to play the big courses. We want to play the Pebble Beaches, the Hazeltines, the Winged Foots. We want to play the big courses that the guys get the opportunity to play, so that’s what’s so great about this event, and that’s why everybody always loves being at this event, that it’s always a world-class golf course that the guys have played, and that’s what we love.”