MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - Before he tees it up against the pros at the FedEx St. Jude Classic later this week, Ole Miss golfer Braden Thornberry had his eyes on another tournament, the U.S. Open. Going 9-under (66-68--134) over 36 holes Monday, Thornberry accomplished his goal and qualified for next week's U.S. Open.
On the same day in which he was named a finalist for the 2018 Fred Haskins Award, Thornberry claimed one of the 11 spots up for grabs in the Memphis Sectional qualifier. He fired a 5-under 66 at Ridgeway Country Club to begin his day before heading over to Colonial Country Club and shooting a 68 (-4). Thornberry finished the day tied for fourth out of 117 golfers in the field that included 98 professional golfers, becoming the only amateur to qualify out of Memphis. Throughout the 36 holes of play, he recorded 11 birdies while only making two bogeys.
Qualifying for the U.S. Open means Thornberry will compete on the PGA Tour for back-to-back weeks. He earned a sponsor's exemption into this week's FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis, an event in which he finished fourth last year. Thornberry will make his major championship debut at the 118th U.S. Open, known as golf's toughest test, at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (June 14-17) in Southampton, New York.
Fellow Rebel Josh Seiple also competed in U.S. Open qualifying, going up against the majority of the pros playing in last week's Memorial Tournament in Ohio. Seiple got off to a fast start with a 3-under 33 on the front nine of his opening round before having to settle for a 75 (+3). He posted a 70 (-2) for his second round to finish 1-over for the tournament and in a tie for 45th out of 120 golfers. The top 14 in Seiple's qualifier advanced to the U.S. Open.