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Sayville's Burke places third in State Championship
Since he joined the golf team as a seventh-grader, Sayville junior Kyle Burke would set a goal for himself at the beginning of every year. It started with looking to qualify for the county tournament then grew to qualifying for the state tournament, and now before this season he aimed to win the state championship.
Burke may not have achieved his goal for this year but he came very close, tying for third place in the State Boys Golf Championship with a two-day score of 151 this past weekend at Cornell University. Burke shot a four-over 75 on Sunday and a five-over 76 on Monday to tie with Section V’s Matt van Niekerk.
“He had a rough start on the first day and he battled back,” Sayville coach Sean McLaughlin said. “The strength of his game is his attitude and his ability to get the most out of his rounds. He really grinds out good scores when he’s not striking the ball at his best.”
This year’s finish marked a great improvement for Burke as he tied for tenth in last year’s state tournament.
“His result sums up what he’s been working for all season and the goals that he set for himself,” McLaughlin said. “I’m most proud of the way he stays focused on his goals; his goal setting is what fuels his success. It’s been great to watch his mind develop; his mental side of the game is way beyond his years and that’s really what sets him apart from other golfers.”
Burke will now play in the State Federation Cup on June 9 at Bethpage Black. Despite the high difficulty level of the course, McLaughlin likes his chances.
“He’s a very good driver of the ball, and driving the ball is gonna be very important on that course,” he said. “The strength of his game is his long irons, he’s the best in the county at that, and that gives him a good shot at Bethpage Black.”
South Side senior Sean Byrne tied for fifth (152) to also qualify for the Federation tournament. Cold Spring Harbor junior Chris Gabriele tied for 10th (154), Ward Melville freshman Gerry Mackedon was 14th (157), and East Hampton senior Ian Lynch was tied for 15th (158).
In the team competition, Section XI finished third with a score of 1107 while Section VIII took fourth with 1108. Section III won with a score of 1098.