Ole Miss found a certified champion in Braden Thornberry.
Thornberry capped off a sensational season with his championship win at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois, but the path to success began for Thornberry long before his arrival at Ole Miss.
Son of Les and Veronica Thornberry, William Braden Thornberry was born on April 11, 1997 in Olive Branch, Miss. Braden had the benefit of his father being a scratch golfer who taught Braden the unique 10-finger grip that has become a defining piece of his game.
Thornberry worked with the resources he had available to him growing up and polished himself into one of the best young talents in the nation.
While attending DeSoto Central High School, Thornberry worked continuously on improving his game whenever possible. But he a long list of achievements in front of his latest win.
The first notable achievement that gave him national recognition was his victory at the Future Masters Championship in 2011. This victory fueled the fire that led to Thornberry having an outstanding high school career. He won the Mississippi State Junior Amateur Championship in 2012 and was a two-time Gary Gilchrist Junior All-Star Team member (2012-13), a three-time Rolex All-American (2013-15), a two-time Mississippi 6A Individual State Champion (2014-15), a five-time United States Junior Golf Tour Player of the Year, and represented the East Team in the American Junior Golf Association’s prestigious Wyndham Cup Event.
These accolades led to Thornberry ranking No. 12 in the country for the 2015 class and finishing his junior golf career ranked No. 6 in the world.
With all this success, Thornberry took the opportunity to develop his game even further and accepted his admittance to the University of Mississippi in the fall of 2015.
As a freshman Thornberry quickly took advantage of the now unlimited access he has had to facilities at Ole Miss. He could consistently work on improving his unorthodox swing and sharpen other facets of his game.
The new Rebel quickly made his presence known at Ole Miss as he became arguably the team’s best golfer in his freshman season.
He finished his freshman season after competing in all 11 tournaments as the Rebels’ leader in stroke average with a 72.24. He was also the team’s top finisher in six of the tournaments, finished in the top 20 on six different occasions, earned his first career title at the FAU Slomin Autism Invite with a career-low score of 205, had a career-low round score of 67 in the second round of the Erin Hills Intercollegiate, and named First-Team Rolex Junior All-American by the Junior Golf Association.
Even with all this early success Braden knew there was more that he could improve on and more that he needed to prove not only to critics but to himself.
Thornberry came into his sophomore season fifteen pounds lighter since entering college and with a new attitude and determination.
The inspired Rebel finished the fall with the nation’s best scoring average at 68.87. He cemented his standing on the national level with four tournament victories, as well as nine top-ten finishes.
These achievements placed Thornberry on the biggest stage of them all and gave him an opportunity to validate his victories with the Individual National Championship at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove.
Ultimately the lack of drop off in Thornberry’s play led to him controlling the tournament on the final round as he began the day trailing two strokes from the lead. Consistency at each hole and most notably consistent putting led to Thornberry capping off the day with a four-stroke victory as the rest of the field struggled severely with the course and windy conditions.
Thanks to everyone for the support this week! Couldn’t be happier about bringing a National Championship back to Ole Miss! #HottyToddy
— Braden Thornberry (@tberrygolf) May 30, 2017
This incredible milestone in his career gave Ole Miss their first national golf title and the team’s best finish ever at 22nd in the tournament.
This victory makes Thornberry a heavy favorite for the Fred Haskins Award, which is given to the most outstanding male collegiate golfer of the year.
The future is bright for this young trailblazer as he prepares for his PGA Tour debut next week at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis.