Nicklaus Award winner Burns turns pro

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Nicklaus Award winner Sam Burns turned pro Tuesday and will make his debut next month in Las Vegas.

Burns, 21, will make his first pro start at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. He is expected to receive the maximum seven sponsor exemptions allowed to non-members on the PGA Tour, plus an extra start at the Memorial by virtue of his Nicklaus Award as the NCAA Player of the Year.

Recently snubbed for the Walker Cup, Burns is coming off a sophomore season at LSU in which he won four times, posted the school’s single-season scoring record (70.05) and held the No. 1 college ranking for much of the season. This summer, he tied for sixth at the Barbasol Championship, his 18-under 266 total the lowest by an amateur in Tour history.

“I’m excited to finally embark on my professional career,” said Burns, who will be represented by agent Brett Falkoff. “I am glad to have a strong team around me to help me achieve my goal of one day becoming one of the best players in the world.”