The sophomore will become the fourth boy in his family to play for a state title — all of whom did it at Woodstock.
“It’s a pretty good feeling,” Burns said of carrying on the tradition. “I’m just trying to live up to my older brothers’ shoes and trying to fit in.”
The oldest two boys in the Burns family — twins Brian and David — went with their team to state in 2008, while Eric qualified as an individual two years ago. The team the twins played on was the first — and, thus far, only —Woodstock team to reach the state tournament.
Kevin Burns said part of what will make Monday’s trip to Evans bittersweet is that he won’t have his teammates with him. He hopes that will change in the future — perhaps when the youngest Burns boy, 12-year-old Adam, joins the team in a couple of seasons.
“I’d like to have my team to go with me, which would be our goal as a Woodstock team as of next year,” Kevin Burns said. “I’d like to be able to take my team, as my oldest brothers did.”
Burns said he isn’t nervous about playing the state tournament alone.
“It’s all golf to me,” he said. “It’s just another tournament to go to. I think there is more magnitude in it, because I have my Woodstock school name to carry on my back as I play through this one.”
First-year Woodstock coach Kelly Burke will be making the trip to Champions Retreat Golf Club with Burns.
“It’s my first year as the boys golf coach, so it’s really exciting,” Burke said.
As each boy in the Burns family became large enough to swing a golf club, they would join outings with their father. All of them continue to play the game.
“It was our childhood, basically,” Burns said. “We all just played golf together. We have caddied for each other in tournaments. We all like supporting each other. We share tips here and there, and things that we find. We have been able to accomplish a lot, and we support each other as much as we can.”
While Burns may be the only member of the Woodstock roster playing in the tournament, he won’t be the only Cherokee County player making the trip to the Augusta area. Four local squads qualified — both the girls and boys programs from Creekview, as well as the girls from Etowah and Woodstock.
The Creekview girls placed third in the Region 7AAAAA tournament, but they went on to easily win the sectional. However, region champion Cambridge, favored to win the state title at Augusta’s Jones Creek Golf Course, will be tough for the Lady Grizzlies to trump, even on a good day.
In the Class AAAAA boys tournament at Bartram Trail Golf Club Evans, Creekview is looking to at least medal. The Grizzlies have been consistent this year, but they placed third out of Region 7AAAAA behind Cambridge and Kell. At the sectional, Creekview finished behind Lakeside-Evans, Kell and McIntosh.
The Etowah girls have as good a shot as anyone at winning the state title at Fort Gordon’s Gordon Lakes Golf Club. The Lady Eagles won the Region 5AAAAAA title outright and bypassed the sectional. They will be challenged by a pair of region foes in Milton and Walton, as well as Lambert and Tift County.
The Woodstock girls took third in the region tournament and then snagged one of the final qualifying spots at the sectional tournament to advance to Fort Gordon.