Sam Burns of Shreveport, Louisiana, was named the 2014 boys Rolex Junior Player of the Year.
Introduced by the AJGA in 1978, the Rolex Junior Player of the Year award recognizes one boy and one girl who had the most outstanding year in junior golf events at the national level. Past recipients have gone on to become some of the most esteemed players on the PGA and LPGA Tours, including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Charles Howell III, Hunter Mahan, Brian Harman, Jordan Spieth, Vicky Hurst, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
Burns, 18, claimed the No. 1 spot in the Polo Golf Rankings after a record-shattering performance at the Rolex Tournament of Champions, setting a new 72-hole tournament record of 21-under-par 267 at the AJGA’s flagship event. He went on to win the Junior PGA Championship and was a member of the victorious squads at the Wyndham Cup and Junior Ryder Cup. The three-time Rolex Junior All-American and LSU commit is the first Louisianan since the late Tommy Moore in 1980 to be named Rolex Junior Player of the Year.
His accomplishments will be heralded Nov. 23 during the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The awards ceremony, dubbed “The Greatest Night in Junior Golf,” will also trumpet the achievements of the rest of golf’s next generation by means of the Rolex Junior All-America Teams, HP Scholastic Junior All-America Teams and Jerry Cole Sportsmanship Award.
About Sam Burns’ 2014 season
Burns, 18, finished within the top 10 in all six AJGA starts of the 2014 season. He claimed the No. 1 spot in the Polo Golf Rankings after his record-breaking victory at the Rolex Tournament of Champions in June, then went on to win the Junior PGA Championship.
Burns started his 2014 campaign with a quarterfinal appearance at the Polo Golf Junior Classic in November 2013. He eclipsed his ninth-place finish at the AJGA Boys Championship at Carlton Woods in February with a third-place showing in May at the Thunderbird International Junior.
His breakout performance came at the AJGA’s flagship event, the Rolex Tournament of Champions, where he cruised to victory with a 21-under-par 267. His tournament total set a new AJGA 72-hole scoring record and set a new tournament record, surpassing three-time Rolex Junior Player of the Year Phil Mickelson’s mark set in 1987.
Burns went on to capture the Junior PGA Championship title, earning a spot on the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team and a sponsor exemption into the 2015 Valero Texas Open. The win also solidified his spot on the West Team at the Wyndham Cup. After a one-year hiatus from the Wyndham Cup, Burns helped the West retain the Cup as the only West player to go undefeated throughout the week, adding to a 6-2-0 career record. He continued the match play success abroad, winning or halving his matches to help the U.S. win its fourth consecutive title at the Junior Ryder Cup.
A three-time Rolex Junior All-American, the LSU commit rounded out the season with a pair of T5 performances at The Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf and The PING Invitational.