STILLWATER, Okla. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – Saturday was a long day for defending NCAA Champion Braden Thornberry. The Ole Miss golfer had to wake up early to complete his opening round before turning right around to play another 18 to wrap up the first two rounds of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Golf Championships at Karsten Creek Golf Club.
Thornberry was on the course for eight hours and 33 minutes on Saturday, playing 27 holes. He finished up his first round, posting a 41 (+5) on the back nine for a 78 (+6). He improved with a 73 (+1) during his second round, highlighted by a bogey-free nine to end his day.
Beginning his morning at 7 a.m. CT, Thornberry started by hitting his third shot on the par-4 10th. Playing as the most difficult hole on the course, the 10th forced a double bogey out of the No. 1 amateur in the world to drop him to 3-over for the round. A pair of lost balls led to two additional double bogeys, overshadowing a birdie on No. 14 and five pars on the back nine.
After completing the opening round, Thornberry began his second round 20 minutes later. The Ben Hogan Award finalist made four birdies throughout his final 18 of the day, including three over a four hole stretch. His first birdie of the round came at the par-4 12th before a bogey gave it right back at No. 13. However, Thornberry answered with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 14 and 15 to move to 1-under for the round. Wayward tee shots led to three straight bogeys to close out the opening nine, and Thornberry made the turn at 2-over.
Thornberry finished his round on a high note with a bogey-free nine coming into the clubhouse. He used a nifty flop shot on the par-5 first to set up a 7-foot birdie. From there, Thornberry grinded out pars to complete his day. The junior made par on each of the last eight holes, firing a 1-under 35 on that side to sign for a 73.
Thornberry will look to go low tomorrow to make the cut for the final round. After 54 holes, the top nine individuals not on a team sitting in the top 15 will advance to the final round of stroke play on Memorial Day. Thornberry’s third round begins Sunday (May 27) at 2:12 p.m. CT off No. 10.
T101. 78-73—151 (+7)
“It was a grind out there today,” said head coach Chris Malloy. “This course makes you pay if you aren’t accurate off the tee, and that caused a few big numbers. However, I was pleased with the way Braden bounced back by not making a bogey over his last nine holes. We’ll take that positive play into tomorrow and try to post a low number.”
Remaining Tournament Schedule
Sunday, May 27 (18 holes)
Round 3 – Tee time 2:12 p.m. off No. 10
Monday, May 28 (18 holes)
Round 4 (Top 15 teams and nine individuals not on an advancing team) – Tee time TBD
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