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Braden Thornberry wins McCormack medal

Rebel golfer is world's No. 1 amateur.

Posted: Aug 27, 2018 4:47 PM
Updated: Aug 27, 2018 5:54 PM

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – Ole Miss men’s golfer Braden Thornberry has been named the recipient of the McCormack Medal, the pinnacle of amateur golf awards, the R&A and the USGA announced Monday morning.

Beginning in 2007, the McCormack Medal has been given annually to the player ranked at the top of the World Amateur Golf Ranking following the European and U.S. Amateur. The medal is named after the late Mark H. McCormack, who was the founder of sports marketing company IMG.

Past winners include the likes of Joaquin Niemann (2017), Jon Rahm (2015), Ollie Schneiderjans (2014), Matthew Fitzpatrick (2013), Patrick Cantlay (2011) and Danny Lee (2008). The World Amateur Golf Ranking encompasses more than 2,700 counting events, ranking 6,200 players from 106 countries.

“This is a prestigious award and I am honored to be among the group of past recipients,” Thornberry said. “There are many people who have made this possible along the way, and I am grateful to everyone. I am really excited about my future in the game of golf and I hope to keep representing my country, my state and the University of Mississippi in the best way possible.”

Thornberry’s past year of golf was nothing short of spectacular. The senior not only excelled at the collegiate level, but was a staple in the world’s most notable amateur events and did not look out of place among the pros.

Thornberry medaled four times during the 2017-18 season on his way to a 70.28 stroke average which ranked 15th nationally. He became the first Ben Hogan Award finalist in school history and also was named a finalist for the Fred Haskins Award. A fourth-place finish at the NCAA Bryan Regional earned him a spot in the national championship in May. He was selected second team All-American and became the third Ole Miss player in history to become a two-time All-American.

The senior helped Team USA take home the Arnold Palmer Cup in France this past summer. He finished in the top-5 at the Pacific Coast Amateur at the Olympic Club and made it to match play at the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach.

Thornberry made the cut at two PGA Tour events, the FedEx St. Jude Classic (T-26th) and the RSM Classic (T-61st). He also made his first major appearance at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, missing the cut by one stroke. Making his Tour debut in April, Thornberry tied for 22nd at the inaugural North Mississippi Classic.

In 2017, Thornberry won the NCAA national title by four strokes with a 72-hole score of 11-under 277 and received the Fred Haskins Award as the top collegiate golfer. He registered two singles victories in helping the USA win the Walker Cup Match at Los Angeles (Calif.) Country Club last September.

As the medal winner, Thornberry is exempt into the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and the 2019 British Open at Royal Portrush, provided he remains an amateur.

Thornberry and the Rebels begins the 2018-19 campaign on Sept. 9 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

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