Eagle Putt Powers Former MSU Star Sarah Burnham in Michigan PGA Women’s Open at Crystal Mountain
THOMPSONVILLE – Just when it looked like Sarah Burnham had lost her lead in the Michigan PGA Women’s Open at Crystal Mountain Tuesday, she rolled in a 20-foot eagle putt from the back fringe on the par 5 No. 18 hole of the Mountain Ridge course.
The former Michigan State star now playing on the LPGA Tour used the eagle to cap a 2-under 70 for a 9-under 135 total and one-shot lead on Nishtha Madan of Grand Rapids heading into Wednesday’s final round of the $40,000 championship.
“My putting was terrible today, but I was like, let’s see what I can do here on the last hole,” she said. “I’m like, let’s just knock it up on the green. It was on that back fringe maybe six inches and I was able to stroke that one well. It was super fun to finish like that.”
Madan, who just turned professional in May after graduating from Sacramento State University, rallied and held the lead late in the round with a 68. A native of India, she said the Grand Rapids address is just her latest stop in her nomadic lifestyle as a touring golf professional before going to LPGA Qualifying at the end of the year. And it is close to her boyfriend and caddie this week, former University of Michigan golfer and Muskegon native Reed Hrynewich, who she met when she lived in Arizona.
“I’m pretty happy with a 68,” she said. “I made a few mistakes here and there, but I recovered pretty well I think and just stayed in the moment and played steady golf. I’m happy with the way it turned out.”
Emma Jandel, a former LPGA Tour golfer from Sandy Springs, Ga., shot 67 with seven birdies to check in at 137, two behind Burnham, and former Ohio State University golfer turned professional, Jessica Porvasnik of Hinckley, Ohio, shot 67 for 138.
Liz Nagel of DeWitt, the 2018 Michigan PGA Women’s Open champion and an LPGA Tour player, shot a second consecutive 70 for 140, and was tied for fifth with University of Kentucky golfer Sarah Shipley of Hastings, who shot 69.
The final round Wednesday will use a two-tee start with the final group of leaders going off No. 1 at 10 a.m.
Burnham said she made a lot of good shots in the second round, like when she shot 65 Monday, but she never felt comfortable with her putter.
“Yesterday they were pretty much all going in,” she said. “It was great, and then today – it’s just crazy how you can feel so uncomfortable over the putter. I’m glad that last one rolled in. I hope I can improve on that for tomorrow.”
Madan said she played the golf course and not against Burnham, who was in the same group and will be again in the final round.
“I’m playing my game and I feel like I’m really good at putting myself in that space and just focusing on myself,” she said. “She made that eagle putt, and I though great for her, more power to her.”
Madan’s second shot on No. 18 had rolled through the green just into the rough. She chipped past six feet on the eagle attempt, and missed the birdie putt to tap in for par.
“It was a good miss so I’ll take par on that hole,” she said. “I didn’t know I was in the lead. I was just trying to make good shots.”
Burnham said she wouldn’t have an game-plan changes for the final round.
“Just make more putts,” she said.
ABOUT CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN: Crystal Mountain was established in 1956, and is a family-owned, four-season resort that is nationally recognized for its skiing, golf, and award-winning spa. Located in northwest-lower-Michigan, a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the resort features downhill and cross-country skiing, the Michigan Legacy Art Park, 36 holes of championship golf on two courses, Michigan’s only alpine slide, an outdoor water playground, a variety of lodging and dining options, year-round activities and kids programs, an IACC-approved conference center, weddings, real estate and the Crystal Spa. Visit crystalmountain.com.