Burnett Sets Record In Runaway Michigan PGA Women’s Open Win at Crystal Mountain

THOMPSONVILLE – Katie Burnett didn’t want next week’s U.S. Open in Kohler, Wis., to be her first professional event, so she headed north by way of Crystal Mountain Resort to play in the 19th Michigan PGA Women’s Open Championship.

Then she added more firsts, like first professional win, first record score and first runaway.

The 22-year-old from Brunswick, Ga., who recently graduated from South Carolina, shot a final round 3-under-par 69 for a record-setting 11-under-par 205 total and resounding 10-shot win on the Mountain Ridge course Wednesday.

“I feel pretty awesome right now,” she said. “I don’t know if I can describe it. It hasn’t quite hit me yet. It gives me a lot of confidence. It was goal of mine to come out and get the confidence and momentum going into the U.S. Open.”

Her 205 was the lowest in tournament history, besting a 10-under performance by 2007 winner Lisa Fernandes. She also did it while the rest of the field of 60 golfers found the Mountain Ridge course and par hard to handle.

Runner-up Laura Bavaird of Grosse Ile, a Symetra Tour player, was the only other golfer under par in the 54-hole $36,000 event. Bavaird closed with a 1-over-par 73 for 1-under-par 215.

Ashley Tait of Littleton, Colo., finished third at even-par 216 with a final 69, and defending champion Laura Kueny closed strong with a 68 to tie for fourth at 217 with Olivia Jordan-Higgins of the United Kingdom.

Elizabeth Nagel of DeWitt, a Michigan State golfer, finished as the low amateur with a 72 for 221.

Burnett won $5,500 for first place, and gained the confidence she was seeking heading into her first U.S. Open. She was a medalist in May in a sectional qualifier to make the field, all part of a great spring which included a fifth-place individual finish in the NCAA Championships.

“I’m really happy with the way I played,” she said. “I wasn’t sure how I would play because I had about a month off and I’m usually better when I’ve played a bunch of tournaments in a row. I’m really excited about the way I played.”

Burnett dashed the hopes of others in the field and eliminated any drama with three birdies in the first six holes at Nos. 3, 4 and 6. She finished the three rounds with 14 birdies and an eagle against three bogeys and one double-bogey, and started the tournament with a course-record tying 66.

“My goal was to win, that’s always the goal, but I never would have thought I would win by 10,” Burnett said.  “I’m really happy I came here. It’s a great place, and the course was in perfect shape. I would love to come back.”

Bavaird, a fourth-year pro, headed to Harris, Mich., in the Upper Peninsula for a Symetra Tour event this weekend, said the other golfers knew starting the day they were probably playing for second place.

“She was pretty untouchable, very impressive,” she said. “I almost made a lot of putts. It could have been great. She seemed to make a lot of putts. She’s a strong player.”

Bavaird, too, lauded Crystal Mountain Resort, which celebrated its 10th year as host of the 19-year-old tournament. More information about the award winning family resort can be found at as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Complete scoring and information on the tournament is also available at