Minnesota teenager teeing off in the U.S. Women's Open


Nineteen-year-old Sarah Burnham, a Maple Grove native who went to Wayzata High School, was playing in the Minnesota Class 3A state golf tournament just over a year ago. On Thursday, she'll play against the best players in the world at the U.S. Women's Open in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Burnham, a soon-to-be sophomore at Michigan State, won a local qualifier at Windsong Golf Course in Independence, Minnesota, to earn the right to play in the U.S. Open as an amateur, KARE 11 reports.

“It’s very special, I mean, it’s the greatest tournament for women’s golf,” Burnham told the Star Tribune. “It’s like I’m playing in the Super Bowl or something. It’s hard to put into words still. It’s crazy.”

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Burnham will tee off at 1:20 p.m., playing in a group with fellow amateur Beth Lillie and five-year pro Lauren Doughtie.

Can she do what Lunke did?

While she says she would be ecstatic just to make the cut, Burnham has an opportunity to do what Hilary Lunke did 12 years ago.

Lunke, from Edina, played in 154 career LPGA events and finished in the top 10 just once – but is just so happened to be an incredible victory at the 2003 U.S. Open.

Lunke was interviewed by the USGA 10 years after her surprising win and she refused to call it a "fluke." Instead, she prefers to call it a "one-hit wonder."

New Prague golfer also qualified

Burnham's high school friend and biggest competition was Kenzie Neisen, a star golfer from New Prague who now plays at Oklahoma State. She also qualified for the U.S. Open, but only as an alternate.

The Pioneer Press adds that Neisen won the 2014 state title with a 36-hole score one shot better than Burnham. The two tied for the state championship as juniors in 2013.

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