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14-Year-Old Joey Burlison Shoots 11-Under 60

14-Year-Old Joey Burlison Shoots 11-Under 60

May 16, 2014

Eighth-grader Joey Burlison (top) is the top dog in the Burlison family after his 11-under 60 this week.

Eighth grader Joey Burlison (top) is the top dog in the Burlison family after his 11-under 60 this week.

Joey Burlison is a 14-year-old in eighth grade at Palma School in Salinas.

Before this week, he had never broken par.

On Monday, the Youth on Course member stood over a 40-foot putt on the 18th green at Rancho Canada’s East Course in Carmel — for a 59.

What in the world was going through his head?

“I already knew I was 11 under, and one more birdie would put me at 59,” Burlison said. “I just barely missed the putt.”

So a kid whose previous low round was an even-par 71 was seriously trying to drain a bomb for 59?

“Yes,” he answered.

Burlison tapped in for par and had to “settle” for an 11-under 60 from the white tees, a 5,714-yard layout with a rating of 67.6 and a slope of 116.

As Bill Sendell, a coach for Pacific Grove Middle School and the former head pro at Spyglass Hill said, “That’s probably the best round in the history of middle school golf.”

No kidding.

Burlison made 11 birdies and seven pars in the middle school league tournament to win by 14. He bunched three birdies in a row on Nos. 6-8 and Nos. 15-17, and missed just one green all day.

Burlison sunk a 30-footer from the fringe on No. 17 to get to 11 under and set up the chance to shoot 59.

“I’ve made a birdie or par on every hole out there, but I’ve never had that many birdies at once,” said Burlison, whose previous low was six birdies in a round. “I was just at ease. I felt comfortable with my swing, I felt good on my putting, and the birdies just started coming.”

The course record from the 6,085-yard blue tees is a 63 by 20-time PGA Tour winner Doug Sanders, who also lost a playoff to Jack Nicklaus in the 1970 British Open.

The Central Coast Section High School Girls Golf Championship is frequently held on Rancho Canada’s East Course, and current Stanford junior Mariko Tumangan shot a 62 from the 5,251-yard red tees as a Presentation High School junior in 2009. Tumangan just helped the Stanford women’s team win the Pac-12 Championships this spring.

“It was basically flawless,” said Tumangan after her round. “This was definitely the best round I’ve ever played.”

So what do you call what Burlison did on Monday?


From left to right: Jay is playing at Cal, Joey is the new family record-holder, Sydney played at Stanford and Cambridge and Jack will play in the NorCal Championships on Monday.

“It’s so much fun to watch, but I was just really happy for Joey,” said Joey’s mom, Joan. “He was so relaxed. I was a mess.”

And Joan has seen her share of great golf. Joey in the youngest of four siblings in quite possibly the most talented golfing family in Northern California.

Sydney Burlison partnered with Fuzzy Zoeller to win the 2008 First Tee Open before playing at Stanford. Sydney continued her studies at the University of Cambridge, and played for both the men’s and women’s teams there.

Jay Burlison just finished his freshman year as a member of the Cal-Berkeley golf team, and won the U.S. Kids World Championship at Pinehurst, as well as the Callaway Junior Worlds at Torrey Pines.

Jack Burlison is a junior at Palma High School who just shot a 2-under 69 at Rancho Canada’s West Course in the CCS Championships – a day after Joey’s 60. (Junior Tour Player of the Year Justin Suh won with a 66.) Jack finished second and qualified for NorCals, which will be held Monday at Sierra View CC.

“I’ve seen some great golf, but these last two days have been pretty special,” Joan said.

But probably best part about all of this has been when Joey delivered the news to each of his siblings. (And yes, his 60 is a new family low.) Joey exchanged texts with his proud sister in England, and called up Jay in Berkeley.

“At first Jay thought I was joking,” Joey said. “He kind of freaked out. He was pretty amazed by it.”

But the most fun conversation came when talking to Jack face-to-face.

“The expression he gave me when I told him, I’m going to remember for the rest of my life,” Joey said. “It was just so funny the way he looked at me.”

-Kevin Merfeld

Author: Kevin Merfeld

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