Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

39° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Burden lifts trophy after win in Illinois Amateur

In golf, one drive, putt or chip can be the moment that a golfer looks back on as the great shot that signaled control of a match. Similarly, a golfer often can recall a tournament victory that gave her career an added boost.

For Northwestern junior Elizabeth Burden, a 20-foot birdie putt on the 13th hole in the final round of the Illinois Women’s State Amateur golf tournament last Friday was the shot that led her to a 5-and-3 victory over defending champion Pam Holcombe.

“After that putt on 13 I played with much more confidence,” Burden said. “I was having a pretty rough putting day until then, but I knew that had a chance when I hit it.”

The victory was the first significant tournament title of her career.

“Elizabeth has been very competitive against the top amateurs in the country,” NU coach Chris Regenberg said in an e-mail. “It was just a matter of time before she would win significant tournaments like this.”

This year’s tournament was held at the Country Club of Peoria. After an 18-hole stroke play qualifying round, the 16 remaining players were seeded for match play.

In the qualifying round played on June 19, Burden’s 73 put her in good position. And after a first-round victory on June 20, Burden was faced with an unusual task: She had to face her own college teammate, senior Emily Gilley, the very next day. The two players often claimed the top two spots for the Wildcats during the season, staking their claims as the team’s best performers.

Gilley took the match the distance, but Burden prevailed in the end, winning 2-up in the quarterfinal contest.

“It was tough facing Emily,” Burden said. “You don’t usually want to face your teammate or friend. But golf is an individual sport. You go out there and do your best.”

The match started out slowly for Burden as she found herself down two after just three holes. But she battled back, pulling even on 11 after Gilley three-putted. Burden’s par on 17 gave her the lead for the first time. On 18, Gilley conceded the match after nearly barely missing a 30-foot par putt.

But Burden wasn’t done with the tournament – or the day, for that matter. That afternoon, she defeated Vanderbilt junior Meredith Ward 1-up, putting her in Friday’s championship round against Holcombe.

Going into the match, Burden said she wasn’t worried about the outcome.

“I didn’t think about my chances of winning much,” Burden said. “I just went out and tried to play my best.”

Burden took an early two-hole lead in the championship. She still held a one-hole lead at the turn despite dropping the eighth.

Holcombe’s downfall came on 10, where she erred on her second shot and gave Burden a 2-up advantage.

“The swing on 10 started the end,” Holcombe said. “I’m in the middle of the fairway with a 9-iron and I chunked it. It wasn’t a hard shot, I just made a bad swing.”

Burden’s lead had widened to 3-up by the time she reached the par-3 13th.

And then came the shot that gave Burden all she needed to win.

Burden and Holcombe faced similar birdie putts – Holcombe narrowly missed; Burden nailed hers. After that putt, good for her lone birdie of the day, Burden never looked back.

The two played out just two more holes before Holcombe ran out of time to catch Burden.

“This is the biggest tournament I have ever won,” Burden said. “It’s nice to get wins under your belt.”

Perhaps Burden will one day look back on this championship as the victory that established her as a quality golfer.

“This is a significant achievement for Elizabeth and one that will be followed by many more tournament championships,” Regenberg said. “She is a true champion who has a very bright golfing future.”

More to Discover
Activate Search
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Burden lifts trophy after win in Illinois Amateur