Individual champion Braden Thornberry
SUGAR GROVE, IL (May 29, 2017) - With the winds up and scores high Ole Miss sophomore Braden Thornberry
battled the difficult conditions to win the NCAA Individual championship. Two-strokes back to begin the day at Rich Harvest Farms, Thornberry closed with a 1-under 71 to finish 11-under and as the four-stroke winner.
"It means a lot to be a champion," a smiling Thornberry told Golf Channel following his triumph.
Texas senior Scottie Scheffler began the day 12-under and ahead by four but when he slipped up early in his round he opened the door for Thornberry. Beginning on the 10th hole, Scheffler bogeyed his first hole and then triple-bogeyed the par-5 11th to fall back to 8-under before ultimately finishing 6-under and in a tie for third.
Unaware of what happened to Scheffler, the turning point of the final round for Thornberry came on the 376 yard par-4 6th. With driver in hand and looking to make a move, Thornberry's tee shot found the front of the green and set up a long eagle putt. Hoping to simply two-putt for birdie, Thornberry did one better as he jarred the putt to jump to 12-under.
From there Thornberry was just trying to keep things together as the wind played havoc on the entire field. Thornberry gave back stokes on Nos. 10 and 14 with bogeys but after a wayward tee shot on the 15th he was able to save par from the back of the green and sustain his lead.
Two pars on the 16th and 17th followed and by the time Thornberry reached the 525 yard par-5 closing hole his lead was a comfortable four shots. Playing lose and quickly, Thornberry stripped a drive down the heart of the fairway, left his second shot just short of the green and then capped his remarkable final round with a chip and a putt for a final hole birdie.
The victory was the fifth of the season for Thornberry, who also won the Jones Cup in February, and his 10th top-five finish of the year. Thornberry's four shot victory was the largest margin of victory for an NCAA Individual winner since Ryan Moore won by six in 2004.
Among the challengers Thornberry fended off on Monday was runner-up Mason Overstreet (Arkansas) at 7-under while Scheffler (Texas), Matthias Schwab (Vanderbilt) and Theo Humphrey (Vanderbilt) shared third at 6-under to round out the top-five.
Schwab was in the mix for the title late in the round until he put two balls into the water on the 15th hole and had to settle for a triple-bogey on the hole.
FINAL TEAM RESULTS
Like the rest of the field Vanderbilt (-13) fell back but that didn't stop them from earning the top-seed as the format switches to match play on Tuesday. Joining Vanderbilt in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championships are Oklahoma (-1), Illinois (+2), Oklahoma State (+3), defending champion Oregon (+6), USC (+6), Baylor (+7) and UNLV (+7).
Of the teams advancing to the quarterfinals the only team to move into the top-eight on Monday was Oregon who replaced Virginia.
Tuesday morning's quarterfinal matches will feature No. 1 Vanderbilt vs. No. 8 UNLV; No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 7 Baylor; No. 3 Illinois vs. No. 6 USC; No. 4 Oklahoma State vs. No. 5 Oregon.
The semifinal matches will follow on Tuesday afternoon before a champion is crowned on Wednesday.
ABOUT THE NCAA Division I Championship
30 teams and 6 individuals not on a qualifying
team make up the field for the championship of
Division I women's golf.
After 72 holes of stroke play, the individual
champion is crowned, and the low 8 teams advance
match play to determine the team champion.
View Complete Tournament Information