Michigan State's Sarah Burnham Ready to Compete in NCAA Women’s Golf Champion

MSU Golf's Sarah Burnham.  Photo courtesy of MSU SID.
MSU Golf's Sarah Burnham. Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

Sophomore qualified for nationals after winning in playoff at NCAA Stanford Regional.

Live scoring: http://www.golfstatresults.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=participants&tid=8169

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State sophomore Sarah Burnham will be competing in the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships this weekend (May 20-23) at the par 72, 6,369-yard Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Oregon.

Burnham qualified to play in the NCAA Championships after winning a two-hole playoff in the third and final round of the NCAA Stanford Regional on May 7. Needing a top-six finish to advance as a team, the No. 42 Spartans placed 11th in the 18-team NCAA Stanford Regional at 41-over-par 893 (291-301-301), 10 shots behind sixth-place Virginia.

The top-three individuals not on those six qualifying teams still advance to nationals. Burnham carded a 2-over 215 (71-71-73) through 54 holes, tying with UNLV's Alexandra Kaui for the third and final individual spot. The two then had a playoff, and after both carded par on the par-4 18th, Burnham won on the second playoff hole with a birdie on the par-4 10th. Burnham tied for ninth overall in the regional tournament.

The NCAA Championships begin on Friday with three rounds (54 holes) of stroke play. Burnham will tee off at 12:55 p.m. PT (3:55 p.m. ET) from hole 10, along with Arizona State’s Linnea Strom and Baylor’s Laura Lonardi.

The top 15 teams (out of 24) and nine individuals not on an advancing team through three rounds will play a fourth and final round of stroke play on Monday to determine the top eight teams that will advance to match play, as well as crown the 72-hole individual national champion. The team national champion will be determined by a match?play format that will consist of quarterfinals and semifinals conducted on Tuesday, followed by the finals on Wednesday.

Burnham is having a record-setting season for the Spartans. She enters the NCAA Championships with a 72.33 scoring average, which is on pace to eclipse the current record of 73.53 set by Caroline Powers in 2010-11.

“It’s an honor for Sarah to have an opportunity to play for a national championship title,” said MSU head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, who is coaching either a team or individual at the NCAA Championships for the 12th time in her career (10 team appearances, two individual appearances in 19 seasons). “Certainly, Sarah has all of the tools to do that. We’re looking forward to heading back out West to the Eugene Country Club, which is a very prestigious golf course.

“As the days go by, Sarah becomes more and more mature. I think she’s really starting to understand her talents. I think the world of her – I think she’s an awesome Spartan, she’s a wonderful person off the golf course as well as on the course, and she’s really a true competitor. From a coaching perspective, we want all the true competitors we can get.”

In addition to scoring average, Burnham also ranks first on the team in birdies (117), under-par rounds (14) and top-10 finishes (7). She is ranked No. 30 in the nation by Golfstat and No. 38 by Golfweek after tying for ninth place at the NCAA Stanford Regional with a 2-over-par 215, which was the lowest three-round total ever by a Spartan at NCAA Regionals (previous: 216 by Lindsey Solberg in 2012). Overall, Burnham has seven top-10 finishes this season, including two tournament wins (Landfall Tradition in October and Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate in February) and two runner-up finishes (Tar Heel Invitational in October and Lady Buckeye Invitational in April).

A first-team All-Big Ten and All-Region selection, Burnham tied for seventh at the Big Ten Championships with a 4-under-par 212, which was the lowest 54-hole score ever by a Spartan at the conference tournament and tied for the eighth-lowest overall in school history.

Burnham’s stellar season also includes the best single-round ever at Michigan State when she shot a 66 both at the Mary Fossum Invitational in September and the Landfall Tradition in October.

Last summer, Burnham qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open in July and competed in the U.S. Women’s Amateur in August. She was named the Minnesota Golf Association’s Women’s Player of the Year after winning both Minnesota Match Play State Championship and the Minnesota State Four-Ball Championship; she also tied for third at both the Minnesota Women’s State Open Championship in August.

Burnham is a second alternate for the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open after tying for second in her local qualifying round on May 16.

Powers and Christine Meier own the best individual finishes in program history at the NCAA Championships with sixth-place showings in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Allyssa Ferrell tied for 10th after shooting a 283 in 2014, the lowest 72-hole score by a Spartan at nationals.

Live scoring of the 2016 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships will be available on golfstat.com. Live coverage of Monday’s final round will be available on the Golf Channel from 7-10 p.m. ET.