Earlier this week two-time Big-Ten Player of the year and Michigan State alumna, Sarah Burnham, returned to her collegiate stomping grounds and competed at the Michigan PGA Women’s State Open. Burnham, of Maple Grove, MN, competed in fifteen LPGA events last year including one top ten finish at the Cambia Portland Classic. While she had hoped to continue on early this year, nothing got in the way of her practicing hard, helping the community, and taking home a win by ten strokes.
“I’ve been able to play in both Cactus Tour and Eggland’s Best events, but it's kind of nice to relax. It's been fun just to be with family and close friends for a bit and not have to travel so much,” said Burnham.
Alongside working to keep her competitive edge over the past few months Burnham was inspired by a family member to work outside of golf and help during the pandemic. “My grandpa was delivering food to kids in need. So, I told myself ‘well, I can do that for people too,’” she said. “I did some research, and I signed up for Shipt Shopping because I realized a lot of older people or people with underlying health conditions can't really get to or don't want to go to the grocery store. I'm pretty healthy and young so I felt as though I could help out.”
Working hard on her game and delivering orders Burnham looked forward to the event in Michigan knowing she would be surrounded by her fellow Spartans. “I stayed with a couple girls that are on the team currently at Michigan State, so it was a really relaxed environment,” said Burnham. “It felt like home and I was just able to play calm and relaxed. The week reminded me it's good to kind of just go in with it sometimes,” Burnham shared.
Her calm and composed mentality helped her perform every day. Burnham started the first-round chipping in and built off that momentum to end the day with a 65. The following day she shot a 70 but knew where the focus needed to be for the final round. “My putting was cold. I was putting for birdie all day, but I just didn't make many,” said Burnham. While slight changes and a little extra putting on the practice green was what she worked on, hitting in from 145 yards out on third hole during the final round is what Burnham says sealed the deal towards her final total of eighteen-under par.
“I didn't know it went in right away because the green was up on top of a ledge,” said Burnham. “They had people pull the pins for us on each green and the guy [on the third green] kind of put his hands up, I thought it was just like a close shot, not in the hole.”
Excited about her win, Burnham looks forward to getting back to both Symetra and LPGA events starting on July 24th in Battle Creek, MI for the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship.