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Ams Thornberry, Lee fall short in Web.com qualifying
09 Dec 2018
by AmateurGolf.com Staff

see also: Braden Thornberry Rankings

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Braden Thornberry (Golfweek photo)
Braden Thornberry (Golfweek photo)

CHANDLER, Ariz. (Dec. 9, 2018) – It was a fast start but a slow finish for Braden Thornberry at the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament. The Ole Miss senior opened with 10-under 62 at Whirlwind Golf Club and held a share of the lead.

From there, however, Thornberry went only 4 under in the following three rounds. It took a 72-hole score of 18 under to earn a place among the top 40 and ties, and thus take home some level of Web.com Tour status for 2019. Thornberry finished T-74.

Only three amateurs reached the tournament, which is effectively the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School. Andy Zhang, who left the University of Florida after his sophomore season, was one of them but turned professional at the start of the week. He earned exempt status through the first 12 events of 2019 thanks to a T-8 finish (24 under).

Australian Min Woo Lee, the final amateur to tee it up, was T-67 at 15 under.

ROUND 2 UPDATE

For amateur golf fans, there are two good reasons to keep an eye on Web.com Tour Qualifying scores this weekend: the first would be nostalgia (it’s like a reunion for all the old college- and amateur stars) and the second would be for the Braden Thornberry watch.

Thornberry, who has one semester of eligibility left at Ole Miss, was one of three amateurs to advance to the final stage, but has perhaps the most interesting storyline. Andy Zhang, who left the University of Florida after two years, has already turned professional and Australian Min Woo Lee did not attend college. That makes Thornberry the only active college player in the field.

Earlier this fall, Thornberry told Golfweek reporter Brentley Romine that he would accept Web.com Tour status and turn professional should he earn it with a top-40 finish at Whirlwind Golf Club this week. He left the door open for a decision to turn professional immediately even if he isn’t in that top 40.

Turning professional looked like a very likely scenario after Thursday’s opening round, when Thornberry posted a 10-under 62 that included a streak of seven consecutive birdies on the back nine.

“[During the birdie streak] There was a mix of par 5s and shorter par 4s, and I was able to pick off No. 11 which was actually a pretty hard par 3, but I hit it to the middle and was pretty happy of that,” Thornberry told a Web.com Tour writer after his opening round. “I was hitting it down the middle of every fairway and was getting it up to 10 feet and making it. Hopefully I can keep doing that the rest of the week.”

Thornberry already has put together a decorated career at Ole Miss. He won the 2017 NCAA individual title, as well as the 2017 Fred Haskins Award, given to the most outstanding men's collegiate golfer. He held the top spot in the World Amateur Golf Ranking for much of the past season.

Thornberry fell to even-par 72 on Friday, but at the halfway point of the tournament, is T-29 at 10 under. Zhang, meanwhile, is T-2 after rounds of 63-66 and Lee is T-89 at 5 under.

The suspense continues through Sunday.

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