A great part about college sports is that you can watch an athlete blossom from unknown to household name. That said, it can also be great to watch an already great player just kick-ass for their college tenure.
Sam Burns fits into the later.
There is no need to nitpick through Burns’ resume to see his dominance. The Shreveport native arrived as the No.1 junior golf player in the nation and lived up to his billing for his two years in Baton Rouge. It was apparent early that the Tigers had something special in Burns, who had a top-20 finish in his first collegiate tournament and finished his freshman season with the second best score on the team, earning an honorable All-American mention.
His 2017 campaign was one for the ages. He became the first player in LSU history to be named Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year. and became the third player in program history to be the SEC player of the year, joining John Salamone, Rob McNamarra, and David Toms. Burns was also the 11th tiger in program history to be named a first team All-American.
Burns won four tournaments his sophomore season with his biggest coming during the Baton Rouge Regional where he shot 7-under 65 in the first round, going 4-under 212 overall, which propelled the Tigers to the NCAA Championship. His postseason performance was just one highlight in a season that saw Burns set the program record for score in a single season at 70.05. The score was enough to allow Burns to carry a 14-straight top-10 finishes entering the postseason.
Although Burns never was part of a national championship team, he was in the championship for both seasons at LSU, with the Tigers finishing tied fifth overall in 2016 and ninth in 2017, which gave the Tigers their fourth-straight top ten finish.
In his two seasons, Burns would set the program record for best stroke average, both career and single-season. He finished tied for the second most career tournament wins with four and finished ninth in career top ten finishes with fifteen and 12th in career top-20 finishes. Burns has both the second best and third best individual tournament scores in program history, with a -13-200 and -12-200, respectively.
Sam Burns might not be remembered for his longevity with the Tigers. That’s okay. Burns put together a season for the ages, and in the process, raised the bar of excellence for an already outstanding Tiger golf program.