Calvary teammates Sam Burns, Ryan Alford reunite on PGA Tour this week

Former Calvary Baptist golfers Sam Burns (at far right) and Ryan Alford (next to Burns) are reunited at this week’s PGA Tour event in San Diego. (Photo courtesy of Louisiana Tech

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Shreveport native Sam Burns will not be the only Calvary Baptist graduate teeing it up in the 2022 Farmers Insurance Open.

His old Cavaliers teammate, Ryan Alford, now assistant golf coach at Louisiana Tech, has been spending the week in southern California … and hopes to stay for the weekend.

The former Tech golfer, along with young pro Kamaiu Johnson, received exemptions to play in the 2022 Farmers Insurance Open. The event runs Thursday through Sunday at Torrey Pines Golf Course, with the standard PGA cut of the tournament field after Friday’s second round.

It will be Alford’s first career start on the PGA Tour. He will tee off at 9:50 a.m. Thursday on Hole No. 1 with Joshua Creel (USA) and Mito Pereira (Chile).

“First PGA Tour start,” said Alford. “It’s a dream come true. It’s surreal right now. My debut. Very excited. Grateful. Thankful for the opportunity.

“I’m trying to keep it simple,” he said. “One shot at a time. Stick to my routine. Stick to what got me here.”

Alford played a practice round on Monday with Burns, Johnson, and Ricky Fowler.

As high school pals, Alford and Burns keyed Calvary’s string of five consecutive Louisiana state championship titles. Those memories were rekindled during their practice round in San Diego.

Burns is one of the PGA Tour’s rising stars, winning two events last year and finishing among the top 10 in the Tour’s season-long Fed Ex Cup competition.

“We played nine holes; just a little game,” said Alford. “It’s always good playing with my high school teammate and my childhood friend. Having the opportunity to play with (Sam) and having the confidence that I grew up with him and played a lot of golf with him. I’m just moving forward. It keeps the dream alive. I know I belong out here. That’s the biggest thing for me.”

The exemptions support Farmers ongoing commitment to the Advocates Professional Golf Association Tour and its work to grow diversity in golf. Helping to remove the financial burden associated with the game and providing playing opportunities are top priorities for both Farmers and the APGA.

“Both Ryan Alford and Kamaiu Johnson have their own stories of perseverance, and each has shown they can compete and win on the APGA Tour this season,” said Marty Gorsich, CEO of the Farmers Insurance Open. “Ryan has enjoyed tremendous success with two victories on the APGA Tour this season and we felt Johnson deserved his chance to return and finish what he wasn’t able to start in January 2021. Not only are they great golfers on the course, but they also both give back and work to grow the sport in the communities where they learned the game.”

Alford, 25, grew up learning the game with his father and through First Tee Northwest Louisiana in Shreveport.

During the 2021 season, Alford had back-to-back victories at TPC Scottsdale and Valhalla Golf Club. He also finished runner-up in the final event of the APGA Farmers Insurance Fall Series.

Provided by Louisiana Tech Athletic Communications