- Stanford photo
After one of the closest points races since the inception of the award,
of Wellesley, Mass., is the AmateurGolf.com Men's Player of the Year.
The AmateurGolf.com Men's Player of the Year is awarded based on a point system earned through performance in major amateur events throughout the course of the year. The year, the 21-year-old Thorbjornsen edged out a strong field of internationals and fellow college stars.
Players of the Year
How close was the points race? The point margin between Thorbjornsen and the 10th-place points earner was less than Rose Zhang's winning margin
over runner-up Ingrid Lindblad
Thorbjornsen got it done on the strength of a string of high finishes in college events, and the highest finish by an amateur on the PGA Tour in six years.
Coming into the year, Thorbjornsen had already established himself as one of the game's top amateur players, having won the prestigious Western Amateur in 2021 and having a USGA championship on his resume
before ever stepping foot on the campus of Stanford University.
His college record through three semesters at Stanford was solid but he had yet to win a college event. That would change in 2022.
His steady progress in college golf would continue in the spring of 2022, as he logged four top-10 finishes including a runner-up finish at the Cabo Collegiate in Mexico, edged out only by Vanderbilt's Cole Sherwood who shot a 61 in the final round
He would finish fifth in the NCAA Regional, helping Stanford reach the NCAA Championships. He would be the only Cardinal to play four rounds at the championship, finishing T32.
Thorbjornsen's game would reach a new level in the summer. After qualifying on "golf's longest day
" for the U.S. Open, he was given the honor of being the first player to tee off at the championship, played in his native Massachusetts at The Country Club.
Perhaps buoyed by the confidence of handling the spotlight, Thorbjornsen arrived at TPC River Highlands the following week via sponsor's exemption and immediately got himself into contention
at the PGA Tour event. A second-round 65 allowed him to make the cut easily, and a follow-up 66 catapulted him into the top 10.
It was a nice story, but it got serious when, on the 11th hole of the final round, he rolled in a 20-footer for birdie that pulled him within one shot of the overnight leader Xander Schauffele
. No amateur had won on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson in 1990, but anyone watching could envision it happening again the way Thorbjornsen was playing and handling the moment.
He would not sustain his charge, but his 4th-place finish was the highest on the PGA Tour since 2016
. More impressively, Thorbjornsen became the first amateur this century to finish in the top 10 of a PGA Tour event with a field strength above 400.
“It was incredible. It was surreal,” said Thorbjornsen afterward. “It’s better than how I dreamt about it. It’s so loud. It was very welcoming.”
“I can’t wait to come back next year and the following years.”
After representing the U.S. at the Palmer Cup Matches in Switzerland, Thorbjornsen attempted to defend his Western Amateur title at Exmoor Country Club near Chicago, where we ran into him during the practice round:
In the most grueling tournament in amateur golf, he would make the Sweet 16 but fall in his first match. He would then earn medalist honors
at the U.S. Amateur but once again get surprised
in his first match.
Before returning to campus to start his junior year at Stanford, Thorbjornsen was one of three players to represent the U.S. at the World Amateur Team Championship (Eisenhower Trophy), where he finished 11th and helped the team to a third-place finish
It wasn't long before he would accomplish something that had long seemed inevitable: winning a college tournament. At the Cardinal's first event of the season, the Fighting Illini Invitational at Olympia Fields, Thorbjornsen would post rounds of 67-70-66 (-7) at the U.S. Open venue to earn a one-shot win over a stacked field for his first college win, as the Cardinal won by 12 shots
He finished the fall season with 8th place finishes at the Goodwin Intercollegiate and the Jackson T. Stephens Cup, and a 3rd at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate.
Final POY Points Standings, 2022
Thorbjornsen's play in the second half of the year allowed him to surge ahead of Ludvig Aberg
(Sweden, Texas Tech), who was attempting to become the first back-to-back AGC Player of the Year since Peter Uihlein
in 2009 and 2010.
Related: The 2021 AGC Men's Player of the Year: Ludvig Aberg
(Mountain Brook, Ala.), the NCAA individual champion, finished third, followed by Harrison Crowe
of Australia and Caleb Surratt
(Indian Trail, N.C.), who won the inaugural Elite Amateur Series Cup.
U.S. Amateur champion Sam Bennett
(Madisonville, Texas) finished 8th in the standings.
Complete 2022 Points List (3233 players)
| Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rankings (two-year aggregate)