Thornberry Begins National Championship Defense Friday
May 24, 2018


- As the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world, Ole Miss men's golfer Braden Thornberry heads to Stillwater, Oklahoma for the 2018 NCAA Championships (May 25-28) as the defending national champion. The junior Rebel will begin his quest for back-to-back national titles Friday afternoon (May 25) with a 2:32 p.m. CT tee time at Karsten Creek Golf Club.

The NCAA Arnold Palmer Individual National Championship will be decided over 72 holes of stroke play. Following the first 54 holes on the par 72 course that ranges 7,460 yards, the field will be cut to those on the top 15 teams on the leaderboard as well as the top nine individuals not on a qualifying team. The final round will take place on Memorial Day (May 28), when the national champion will be crowned.

Thornberry qualified for the national championship after firing a 9-under 207 (69-68-70) at the NCAA Bryan Regional, good enough for a fourth-place finish in the 75-player field. The Olive Branch, Mississippi, native became the eighth Rebel in history to individually qualify for the NCAA Championships. As the defending national champion, Thornberry (69.81 stroke average) will have a target on his back as he tries to retain his title. The No. 1 ranked amateur in the world by Golfweek/ is top 20 nationally in the following categories: versus par (6th at -1.94), scoring average (7th-69.81), par 3 scoring (11th-3.02), par 5 scoring (12th-4.53), par 4 scoring (13th-3.98) and birdies (13th-149).

The Ben Hogan Award finalist has already claimed four individual victories this season, increasing his career total to a school-record 11. Thornberry earned medalist honors at the Shoal Creek Invitational, FAMC Intercollegiate at The Grove, Hootie at Bulls Bay and Old Waverly Collegiate Championship. Earlier this month, he became a first team All-SEC honoree for the second straight season, the sixth Rebel in school history to accomplish that feat.  He enters this weekend as a semifinalist for the Jack Nicklaus Award and is on the Haskins Award Watch List as well, an honor he won in 2017.

Last year, Thornberry posted 11-under (66-71-69-71--277) at Rich Harvest Farms Golf Club to become the first national champion in Ole Miss Golf history. His four-shot victory at the 2017 NCAA Championship was the largest margin of victory since 2006. Thornberry entered the final round trailing by three shots, but with the help of an eagle on the par-4 sixth he claimed a four-shot lead at the turn that he would not surrender on the back nine. With the remarkable win, Thornberry joined a list of former NCAA individual champions that include Ben Crenshaw, Luke Donald, Tom Kite, Justin Leonard, Phil Michelson, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

Malloy's Minute
"This is a great way for Braden to end another impressive season," said head coach Chris Malloy. "To even qualify for nationals in an accomplishment in itself, but Braden has bigger plans this week. He has his eyes set on defending his national championship, and we are ready to put that plan into motion on the course."

Tournament Schedule
Friday, May 25 (18 Holes)
Round 1 - 2:32 p.m. CT tee time (Hole No. 1)

Saturday, May 26 (18 holes)
Round 2 - 9:12 a.m. CT tee time (Hole No. 10)

Sunday, May 27 (18 holes)
Round 3 - Tee time TBD

Monday, May 28 (18 holes)
Round 4 (Top 15 teams and nine individuals not on an advancing team) - Tee time TBD

About The Course
Name: Karsten Creek Golf Club
Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
Par: 72
Yardage: 7,460

Follow Thornberry's Title Quest
For all news and information regarding Thornberry's quest for another national title, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissMGolf.






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