Mike Burrows is officially a PGA champion!
The Comox-raised golfer, who now resides in Austria, went 5-under-par to claim a one-shot victory over Czech pro Alan Babicky in the 36-hole PGA of Austria Senior Championship on Sept. 8.
It was a wire-to-wire win for Burrows, who shot 3-under-par 69 on Day 1 for a one-stroke lead over Babicky and Austrian Armin Posratschnig heading into the second round.
In true championship fashion, the title came down to the final hole.
Burrows sunk a seven-foot par putt to win, after Babicky had drained a birdie putt to put the heat on.
“I birdied the first two holes [on Day 2] and just hung in there,” said Burrows in an email interview. “[Babicky] had just won the Czech Order of Merit so he was a hell of a good player. He didn’t miss a shot, he just couldn’t make a putt.”
Among those in the field for the tournament was Austrian legend Markus Brier.
“He is 10th on the European Senior Tour Order of Merit and due to COVID we were lucky to have him here,” said Burrows.
Brier finished third, at 1-under-par.
The pandemic has made for an interesting tournament season for Burrows.
“It’s been a strange year this year,” he said. “In June I played our national own and every tour player from Austria was there, including Bernt Weisberger and Mathias Schwab, who are both on the European tour. I finished 35th at -1… so that was a lot of fun for an old guy to compete against those two! Not so easy at 56, playing against the young guys but as Lee Trevino’s wife once said, ‘the golf ball doesn’t know how old you are.’”
Burrows has lived in Austria for more than 25 years. He runs a golf academy there with his girlfriend and fellow pro, Michaela, at a hotel in the Kitzbühel Alps. He said this has been extremely busy for them, due to the pandemic.
“It’s been a crazy year for us here,” he said. “We’re teaching seven days a week; Austria has been a popular tourist destination as people aren’t flying to Spain, Portugal, etc. We have definitely profited from this terrible time in the world but people are seeing here and in Canada that golf is a safe way to spend your time. As I tell my students ‘hit it in the fairway and you’ll be alone, no need to social distance.’”