Ole Miss senior Braden Thornberry announced he will skip his final semester of eligibility to turn professional after finishing 74th at last week’s Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament.
The 2017 NCAA individual champion as a sophomore, Thornberry played in this year’s U.S. Open, where he missed the cut by one shot. The 21-year-old has made the cut in three of his five starts in PGA Tour events, including a tie for fourth at the 2017 FedEx St. Jude Classic.
“Well guys, it’s time! It’s time for me to become a professional golfer!,” Thornberry tweeted on Friday.
Well guys, it's time! It's time for me to become a professional golfer!
— Braden Thornberry (@tberrygolf) December 14, 2018
Thornberry is ranked 1,101 in the official world rankings, but is the fourth-ranked amateur. His is Ole Miss’ all-time leader with 11 tournament victories, won the 2017 Fred Haskins Award and was twice named first team All-SEC.
He will have conditional status on the Web.com Tour in 2019, and is likely to receive all seven of the sponsor exemptions that non-members are allowed to accept each PGA TOUR season. However, Thornberry will forfeit automatic spots in the 2019 U.S. Open and The Open Championship that he earned by winning the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the top-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking after the U.S. Amateur.
“Mentally, I am ready”
“Some people have wondered why I didn’t turn pro after winning the national championship my sophomore year,” the Olive Branch, Miss. native wrote on OleMissSports.com. “Then, they assumed I would make the jump after my junior season. There have been a few times I’ve considered turning pro, but this is the first time where I have felt mentally ready. …
“There’s nothing quite like the college golf experience. Coming back this fall for my senior season, prepared me for going through the stages of Web.com Tour qualifying. We get to play some of the best courses in the country and compete as a team. My teammates have become some of my closest friends. The older guys were mentors to me when I was an underclassman, and over the past year I was able to help the younger guys on our team now.
“All of this should help answer the question as to why I’ve now decided to turn pro. This decision has been years in the making, ready to be made when the time is right. That time is now. My journey has led me to this point. Mentally, I am ready.”
–Field Level Media