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Former No. 1 amateur, NCAA champ Braden Thornberry to turn pro

December 14, 2018
FedEx St. Jude Classic - Final Round

Marianna Massey

Former No. 1 amateur and Ole Miss senior Braden Thornberry has decided to skip college golf's spring season and turn pro. In a note on Ole Miss' website, Thornberry said the decision's been weighing on him for some time.

"What a ride it has been! These past three and a half years have created memories that I will remember for the rest of my life," Thornberry said. "From the people, to the entire college experience, Ole Miss has helped prepare me for my future. And with that, I have now decided…It's time. It's time for my dream to become reality. It's time for me to pursue my dream of becoming one of the best professional golfers in the world."

The move is both expected and surprising. Thornberry won the NCAA Championship at Rich Harvest Farms in 2017, and a T-4 in that summer's FedEx St. Jude Classic raised his profile. He's competed in four PGA Tour events since, including the 2018 U.S. Open, and was a member of the 2017 Walker Cup team.

However, Thornberry told the Golf Channel the decision to turn pro would ultimately be decided by his finish at the Web.com Tour Q-School. “Basically, (top 40), I'm gone,” Thornberry said. “If I finish low to the pack, I'm staying in school. And in the middle, I'll figure it out.”

After an opening-round 62 gave him a share of the lead at Q-School, Thornberry struggled the rest of the weekend, finishing T-72, meaning no status on the Web.com circuit. for 2019.

Nevertheless, Thornberry and his team are confident enough that he will receive enough sponsor exemptions on the PGA and Web.com Tours to facilitate the move.

"In my heart, I know I'm ready," Thornberry said.

Thornberry becomes the second high-profile amateur to skip the spring session, as All-American Davis Riley made the call last week.