Burke leads Condors on the links

Naugatuck resident Garrett Burke was named the MVP of the Emmett O’Brien golf team for the second straight season. –CONTRIBUTED

NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck resident and Emmett O’Brien junior Garrett Burke has been around the game of golf all his life.

Burke first learned the game from his father, Eugene. Later, under the tutelage golf pro and PGA member Bob Clark, he elevated his game and won two junior championships.

This spring at Emmett O’Brien in Ansonia, Burke led the Condors’ golf team to a 9-5-1 record. He shot a team-low score in 12 of 16 matches, including a season-low of 37 in a win over Sacred Heart at East Mountain, and earned medalist honors seven times.

Burke, a captain, was named the team’s MVP for the second consecutive season after helping the Condors secure the Connecticut Vocational Technical League championship as a freshman.

“Never really thought about being the MVP two years in a row,” Burke said. “I just wanted to fit in and help my team be successful.”

Playing in the Connecticut Vocational Technical League, Burke has been challenged by some very demanding courses, including Orange Country Club, Harrisville, Indian Springs and Hunter golf courses.

“Sometimes it comes down to adjusting to the style of the course,” Burke said. “I feel I have really improved my short game. I have been able to knock about three strokes off my game from last year and that is a significant improvement.”

The second-year captain is looking for continued success for himself and the Emmett O’Brien golf program. Burke plans to work with Hop Brook golf pro Bryan Nixon over the summer to improve his long game.

“Garrett is a very coachable player who eats and sleeps golf,” Emmett O’Brien golf coach Chris Sansone said. “Our home course is Orange Country Club and the front nine can just eat up golfers. That is not the case with Garrett, who just eats up that course. At Emmett we have big aspirations for Garrett. He is our team captain and is a true team leader and a true golfer.”

The mechanical design student also carries honors in his academics and is looking forward to playing in college. Being a professional golfer later down the road is something that he’s thought about, especially since he has been up close to some of the game’s greatest.

“We have been at the Travelers Championship serving as gallery control hole marshals ever since Garrett was 9 years-old,” said his father Eugene Burke. “A few years ago he actually got to hold the Claret Jug, the oldest trophy in the game of golf dating to 1872 awarded to the Open champion.”