LSU sophomore Sam Burns was announced as the 2017 NCAA Division I Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year presented by Barbasol in conjunction with The Memorial Tournament.
Burns became the first LSU golfer in history to be selected as the National Player of the Year and the program’s 11th First-Team All American. The 10 PING First-Team All-American was selected from the five finalists of the award that included Oregon’s Wyndham Clark, Vanderbilt’s Patrick Martin, Stanford’s Maverick McNealy and Wake Forest’s Will Zalatoris.
“This is a special award with it being named after Mr. Nicklaus,” said Burns. “He shaped golf into what it is today and has been an inspiration to many young golfers like myself.”
“I am thankful for LSU to give me this opportunity to be able to compete and have a chance at awards like these. This wouldn’t have been possible without my teammates, and much of the credit is due to them.”
LSU golf coach Chuck Winstead said Burns’ accomplishments and character were noteworthy and deserving of him to receive such a special award.
“In a record-breaking season, Sam set a new bar of excellence with his consistent and dominant play throughout a long, nine-month season,” Winstead said. “We are proud of Sam and appreciate his contributions to LSU as a player and, most importantly, as a person. He is most deserving of this prestigious award recognizing college golf’s best player.”
To recap his stellar year, Burns entered the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships as the No. 1-ranked player in college golf. He played a huge role in leading the Tigers to their first ever regional title, finishing as a medalist of the NCAA Baton Rouge regional in beating out Oregon’s No. 2-ranked Wyndham Clark by a single shot to earn his fourth tournament title of the season.
This season, Burns won the David Toms Intercollegiate, Sun Bowl Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic, Louisiana Classics and recognized as the 2017 SEC Player of the Year and a First-Team All-SEC performer. He also recorded 14-straight top-10 individual finishes and broke the school’s single-season scoring record with a stroke average of 70.05 while finishing with four wins.
Following the final round of the NCAA Championships where he tied for 32nd place, the Team USA Arnold Palmer Cup golfer decided that he plans to turn professional following the Walker Cup in August.
Burns will be presented with the award from Jack Nicklaus himself on Sunday in a special ceremony at Muirfield Village Golf Club as part of the final round of The Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.
All five finalists for the NCAA Division I Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award are also set to compete in the Barbasol Shootout for an exemption to the PGA TOUR’s Barbasol Championship set for July 20-23 on Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Grand National in Opelika, Alabama. The Barbasol Shootout will be contested Saturday, June 3, at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio, where Nicklaus first learned the game of golf as a boy before becoming one of the all-time greats of the game.