Thornberry defends individual title, leads Ole Miss men’s golf to second-place finish in Nashville

Posted on Oct 12 2017 - 7:58am by Ethan Wright

SUGAR GROVE, IL – MAY 29: Ole Miss Rebels’ Braden Thornberry plays the ball from the tee during round four of the 2017 Division I Men’s Golf Championships on May 29, 2017 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

This week brought another strong showing for Ole Miss golf and star player Braden Thornberry at the Franklin American Mortgage Intercollegiate at The Grove tournament in Nashville. Thornberry, who was the reigning 2016 tournament champion, turned in another spectacular individual performance to defend his title and lead the Rebels to a second overall finish in team standings at 4-under-par.

Individually, Thornberry broke his own course record of 5-under with a 7-under performance in Music City and put on a spectacle in the final round. With the three days of play coming down to the final hole, he birdied the 18th to clinch a one-stroke lead over Liberty’s Mickey DeMorat.

While his late heroics may seem like something out of a movie to those unfamiliar with the junior from Olive Branch, they have become something of a normality in head coach Chris Malloy’s experiences.

“This is the second time in three tournaments that he has birdied the final hole to win,” Malloy said. “That shows you what kind of competitor he is.”

A competitor, indeed, Thornberry’s eye-popping play at the FAMC Intercollegiate scored him his ninth individual title of his career so far.

Beyond the spectacular individual work of Thornberry, the Rebels’ team play solidified their status as a legitimate force within NCAA golf. Despite shooting even par in the final round, Ole Miss still managed to finish 4-under on the week, an impressive feat, considering the Rebels racked up the 4-under-par score in just two rounds. Even more impressive was the Rebels’ 14-stroke margin over their next closest competitor, a 10-over-par Kennesaw State team.

“Overall, it was a very good tournament for us,” Malloy said of his team’s performance. “Anytime that you can put yourself in a position to win in the final round, you know you’re doing a lot of things right.”

A heavy contributor to the Rebels’ outstanding finish was junior Beau Briggs, who shot a career-low 214 through 54 holes. A second round score of 2-under-par and two even pars for rounds one and three helped Briggs tie for fifth on the individual leaderboards at 2-under.

Also rewriting career lows were freshman Cecil Wegener and sophomore Chip Getz. Wegener set career lows through 18 holes (71) and 54 holes (221), while also recording his first-ever eagle as a Rebel. Getz too set new lows through 18 holes with back to back pars, and 54 holes, tying Wegener’s 221 total.

The Rebels will get a two-week vacation until their next tournament, the Princeville Warrior Invitational in Hawaii. Ole Miss and Thornberry will be tasked with defending both their team and individual titles, a practice they have become quite familiar with over the past year. Watch for Thornberry, Briggs and the lot to keep the momentum rolling and consistently find their spot atop the leaderboards as the year continues.