Charlottesville’s Burton wins 71st VSGA Junior Stroke Play Championship

Courtesy Virginia State Golf Association

Photo: Chris Lang | VSGA

Charlottesville High School graduate Preston Burton had this one circled on his calendar for a year. A chance to end his junior career with a win in the one tournament that eluded him in front of friends and family at Birdwood Golf at Boar’s Head Resort? Sign him up.

As the weather deteriorated on Thursday and the scores went south, one player held steady. Burton played the final four holes in even par in miserable conditions to close out the 71st Virginia State Golf Association Junior Stroke Play Championship. Burton’s three-day aggregate total of 9-under-par 204 left him four strokes clear of Yorktown’s Brandon Sipe.

Burton was runner-up at the 2021 VSGA Junior Stroke Play championship at Roanoke Country Club, finishing a stroke behind David Stanford, who birdied the 54th hole. Burton, bound for William & Mary in the fall, wasn’t going to fall short again.

It wasn’t easy. Most of the final round was played under cloudy conditions, but outside of random bits of sprinkles, there was no heavy precipitation until the final group approached the par-4 14th. At that point, Burton was at 10-under and held a two-stroke edge over Hudson Pace, who had birdied the par-3 13th to shrink Burton’s lead.

Both players bogeyed 14. On the par-5 15th, Burton made birdie as Pace scrambled for par to push the lead back to three. Both players attempted to drive the green on the short par-4 16th, despite the conditions, and both ended up right and short of the hole–Burton in deep rough and Pace in a greenside bunker. Burton’s chip went long, leaving him a difficult two-putt chance where he had to navigate a ridge to reach the hole location. He three-putted for bogey while Pace got up and down for par, and Burton went to the par-3 17th up two strokes.

That’s where everything changed. Burton’s tee shot was right and short, but he was able to two-putt for par. Pace was left of the green in the rough. He left his chip short, then three-putted for a double bogey. When Sipe–who was playing in the group ahead and was two strokes back of Burton as well–doubled No. 18, Burton went to the final hole with a four-stroke lead. He kept it in play and got up and down for par to clinch the victory. Burton shot a 1-under 70 on Thursday and was the only player in the field to finish under par for all three rounds.

Last fall, Burton closed his prep career at Charlottesville with an individual win in the VHSL Class 3A Championship. Thursday’s win was another statement as he turns the page from junior golf to college golf.


  • Chesapeake’s Xander Goboy and Leesburg’s Vaughn McMeans both finished before the rain and posted the two best scores of the day — 4-under-par 67s. Goboy finished third overall at 4-under 209 and was the 16-18 age division winner. Sipe (5-under 208) was the 15-and-under age group winner.
  • The top 10 players and ties earned exemptions into the 2024 VSGA Junior Stroke Play Championship. Players in the top 10 who are eligible for next year’s championship are Sipe, Goboy, Logan Reilly (T4), Luke Libbey (T4), Liam Maclauchlan (T7), and McMeans (T9).
  • Pace finished in a tie for fourth at 3-under 210 after making double on his final two holes. Pace’s Collegiate School teammate, Tyler Brand, opened the day a shot off the lead but shot a 6-over 77 to finish in a tie for seventh. A tweaked back muscle halfway through the round certainly didn’t help his cause.
  • Chesterfield’s Alex Deas made a hole-in-one on the par-3 13th, eliciting a roar from onlookers that could be heard clearly from across the course on the third green.