After winning the prestigious title last year, Ole Miss golfer Braden Thornberry has been named to the Fred Haskins Award watch list once again. This award is given to the most outstanding men’s collegiate golfer of the year. Thornberry joins a group of 20 players to watch headlined by World No. 3 amateur Doug Ghim and USC junior Justin Suh. Thornberry is one of seven Southeastern Conference players to land on the Haskins Award list.
After a freshman season that included his first career title win, Thornberry broke out in his second year in Oxford. During his sophomore campaign, Thornberry had an exceptional run of five wins, a T-4th finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic on the PGA Tour and an NCAA individual national title. That same season included PING First Team All-American and First Team All-SEC honors for the 20-year-old from Olive Branch. Thornberry ended the 2016-17 season with a nation-leading stroke average of 69.57.
The summer of 2017 included invites to the Greenbrier Classic and the U.S. Amateur, where he beat world No. 1 Joaquin Niemann, and ended with his becoming the first Ole Miss Rebel to play in the Walker Cup.
Coming off of his breakout season, the defending NCAA individual champion is continuing right where he left off. In the first three tournaments of the year, Thornberry has already picked up two wins at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate and the FAMC Intercollegiate tournaments and received an invite to the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic in Sea Island, Georgia. Currently, Thornberry is ranked second in the SEC in stroke average with 69.80 – second only to Alabama sophomore Davis Riley.
Sitting at first all-time in career title wins in Ole Miss history with nine, Thornberry has proven himself to be a Rebel legend. After his sophomore season, the Rebel had the opportunity to turn professional but chose to return to Oxford, saying, “I still have things I want to accomplish here. I am not ready to leave Ole Miss just yet.”
With a memorable legacy already cemented into Ole Miss history, Thornberry will look to add his name to a prestigious number of golfers to win the Haskins Award more than once. When he won the Fred Haskins Award last season, Thornberry joined a list of past winners that includes Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar, Ben Crenshaw, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. If the Rebel wins the award again, he will join Mickelson, Crenshaw and Bobby Clampett as the only players to win the title more than once.
However, for the junior, collegiate events are not the only thing on his radar – trips to Shinnecock Hills for the U.S. Open and Carnoustie for the British Open are very much in sight. Currently sitting as the No. 2 player in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, Thornberry will look to continue his success as the spring goes on.