Kevin Burris has grown a lot, and not just physically.
Until recently, the Carolina Forest sophomore struggled to break 90 and wasn’t among the high school team’s starting five players.
During the past two years, though, his swing coach Charles Johns, head pro at the Hackler Course at Coastal Carolina, has been helping Burris hone his mental game.
“I had to explain to him it’s not how hard you hit it, it’s about finessing the ball around the course,” Johns said. “We just worked on focus and tried to figure out ways not to self-implode.”
The advice seems to be working.
On Saturday, Burris carded a 3-over-par 75 to finish tied for third in a tournament at Myrtle Beach National’s West Course.
The competition was a local qualifier for the Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship scheduled for Feb. 12-15 at TPC Myrtle Beach.
Burris strung together nines of 38 and 37 in a round that included three birdies against six bogeys, including one on the 18th.
His round included birdies the sixth and 17th holes, both par 5s, as well as the difficult par 4 15th hole. Carolina Forest coach Vil Caroso said he’s amazed by Burris’ progress. He anticipates the sophomore standout will seriously contend for the team’s No. 1 spot.
“Kevin probably works harder than anybody who’s come up in Carolina Forest. He wants it really bad,” Caroso said.
Burris was one of five local players earning berths into next month’s 90-player event. He finished three shots off the pace of medalist Will Canipe of Waccamaw High School.
Canipe fired a 3-under-par 33 on his back nine to finish with an even par 72 to win the boys’ qualifier.
Also qualifying were Trey Salley of Waccamaw, 74; and Matthew Griego of North Myrtle Beach, 75.
St. James High’s Jordan White shot 86 to win the girls’ division to earn a spot in the field.
Players from Horry, Georgetown and Brunswick counties competed in the local qualifier.
The inaugural Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship will feature 90 players from around the globe. Golfers from 12 states and eight countries have committed to play in an event that will feature one of the strongest fields in the region.
Eight of the top 12 boys from South Carolina and 6 of the top 10 from North Carolina will be playing, as will seven of the top 10 South Carolina girls, according to a news release.
The tournament will provide participants a PGA Tour-like experience, and the chance to test themselves against their peers from others parts of the U.S. and the world.
Sponsors of the event include Founders Group International, the Dustin Johnson Golf School, and Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday.
S.C. junior schedule released
The SCJGA has also released its 2016 schedule, which includes one local event and several regional competitions.
This year’s schedule tees off Feb. 16 with the Pee Dee Classic at the Country Club of South Carolina in Florence. The entry deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 10.
The Dunes Golf & Beach Club is hosting the 56th annual SCGA Junior Championship June 9-11. Past winners include Lucas Glover, Charles Rymer and Justin Roof.
The event is open to golfers ages 13-17. Players must live in South Carolina and maintain a USGA handicap.
Visit the SCJGA website for a full tournament listing and application information at bit.ly/1nIbvwq.
Tournament of Champions rescheduled
A winter storm that brought mainly rain and cold weather to the Grand Strand, two weeks ago forced the postponement of the 20th annual S.C. Golf Association’s Tournament of Champions.
Originally scheduled for Jan. 23-24 at The Tradition Club in Pawleys Island, the event has been re-scheduled for Feb. 13-14.
Travel safety concerns precipitated the postponement since many players in the field live in parts of the state that saw significant snow and ice.
The SCGA Tournament of Champions is an invitational event consisting of winners of SCGA member club and one day tournaments in the previous year.
In other golf news, another event has been added to the SCGA’s 40-plus series.
Rock Hill Country Club is hosting a tournament May 16. The first event is set for March 14 at The River Club in North Augusta.
April remains an open month and will be filled at a later date. The remaining 40-plus events resume in September and run monthly through September.
Florence Country Club is hosting a tournament Sept. 12. The Oct. 17 event will be held at Rivertowne Country Club in Mount Pleasant.