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George Burns secures Scottish Men’s Amateur golf title

Monday 05 August 2019

George Burns, who graduated from The University of St Andrews in 2018, is showing that it pays to work hard and train well as he took home the coveted Scottish Men’s Amateur title after a rewarding week at Crail last weekend. 

George Burns - Scottish Amateur title

Since graduating, Burns has helped current golfers within the Saints Golf programme and also works at the University’s sports centre on a part-time basis so he can concentrate in his spare time on practice in the unique surroundings of the St Andrews Links Trust facilities. 

The +3 handicapper safely negotiated the two strokeplay qualifying rounds early in the week, despite some extremely low scores from the field, followed by five rounds of matchplay to reach Saturday afternoon’s final. All that stood between him and the esteemed Men’s Amateur title was Kirkhill Golf Club’s Lewis Irvine. The final, played in good spirits and of a very high standard saw both players birdie the first three holes. A further four birdies from Burns saw him -7 through 12 holes, but crucially only two holes up. With two bogeys in the closing holes and Irvine holding strong, the match ended all square after 18 holes. Thankfully it was Burns who held his nerve to win on the first extra hole with a solid par five after Irvine’s drive went left and into a fairway bunker.

With the win, Burns has joined some illustrious company, with household names such as Stephen Gallacher, Colin Montgomerie, and previous foursomes partner, the in-form Robert MacIntyre all previous winners. The future certainly looks bright for a young man whose work ethic, attitude and dedication is as impressive as any athlete we have seen at the University. 

Burns graduated from The University of St Andrews in 2018 with a First Class degree in Economics.  He has citied our golf programme as a stand-out reason for choosing St Andrews rather than heading to the US with a scholarship, so often the chosen route for aspiring young golfers, and it’s a decision that’s paying off.  

Speaking previously about his time as a student at the University, Burns said: 

St Andrews was the complete package for me in that it is as good academically as you could find whilst also offering a first rate performance golf programme – so in this case the sports programme definitely was a factor for me, if there wasn’t a quality golf programme here then it is likely that I would have chosen to go to the US instead, as there is nowhere else in the UK that offers such quality academics and athletics.” 

It’s a proud achievement not only for Burns, but for all involved in Saints Golf, the golf programme here at The University of St Andrews.  This accomplishment highlights just how unique and special the support is for talented golfers coming through this academically rich institution. Burns was a member of the Saints Golf performance programme throughout his four years as a student, was an R&A scholar and our first Arnold Palmer Scholar. During this time he was able to compete all over the world, representing the University on and off the course with honour.  A  captain of the mixed 1stteam, Burns was also a member of the winning team who lifted the BUCS Team Matchplay in 2017 and achieved individually when he won The University’s home tournament, The prestigious Boyd Quaich in 2016. All of these experiences and opportunities amounting to something which has set him in great stead for future success in golf. Burns spoke of the journey as a member of Saints Golf:

I learnt a lot in my time here – I feel my leadership skills improved greatly as I became a greater influence on the other golfers through my time, especially in my final year when I captained Saints Golf. My organising and planning also greatly improved – having to plan my practice to fit around academics and planning study time around competition was vital to my success both on the course and academically. The challenges presented by being committed to my sport whilst grinding for a good grade in my degree forced me to better myself and ultimately allowed me to grow as a person, which I would not have done if I wasn’t involved in sport. I also believe sport is the best way to de-stress and break up your time in between studying.” 

Speaking about Burns achievements, David Watt, Director of Golf said,  

“during his time in the golf programme he applied himself meticulously to his studies and to his golf. For the past year he has been an invaluable asset to the golf programme as an Assistant and mentor to the players. In this time he has juggled two jobs and given any opportunity he could be found at the jubilee practice ground from dawn until dusk. We are incredibly proud of him and he deserves absolutely everything he has achieved this week.  He has shown that anything is possible if you have the desire, determination and work ethic.”

This achievement provides the perfect opportunity to thank the supporters of the golf programme, including The R&A, The St Andrews Links Trust and our individual donors. Without them, the support for our talented golfers, like Burns, and opportunities to train and compete whilst completing their studies, creating this unique St Andrews experience, just wouldn’t be possible.

Huge congratulations George on your achievement. We can’t wait to see what you go on to achieve next!



Posted under: Performance