At just 21, Braden Thornberry won the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading men’s player in the 2018 World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR). Thornberry—a Mississippi native—will earn exemptions into the 148th U.S. Open Championship and 2019 Open Championship, if he remains an amateur.
World’s top male amateur player
The award, named after the late founder of sports marketing company IMG, was established in 2007 and is co-awarded by the USGA and The R&A to the player ranked No. 1 in the WAGR. It is given out in both the men’s rankings and the women’s rankings of the elite amateur players.
Braden Thornberry was the world No. 1 player for 11 weeks, with nine top-10 finishes, four wins and a stroke average of 70.28. He was also a member of the U.S.A teams that won the Walker Cup (2017) and the Arnold Palmer Cup (2018).
“This is a prestigious award and I am honored to be among the group of past recipients,” Thornberry said.
“There are many people who have made this possible along the way, and I am grateful to everyone. I am really excited about my future in the game of golf and I hope to keep representing my country, my state and the University of Mississippi in the best way possible.”
Braden Thornberry was a second-team All-American as junior at the University of Mississippi in 2017-2018, becoming the third player in Ole Miss history to be selected to an All-American team multiple times. He also earned All-Southeast Region and All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) recognition for the second consecutive year.
In 2017, Thornberry won the NCAA Division I individual title and received the Fred Haskins Award as top collegiate golfer.
Moving on up
This year, his professional appearances saw him qualify for the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, tie for 26th in the FedEx St Jude Classic, tie for 61st in the RSM Classic and tie for 22nd in the Web.com Tour’s North Mississippi Classic.
Duncan Weir, Executive Director—Golf Development at The R&A said Thornberry was “a deserving recipient”.
Weir continued, “Braden has joined the likes of Joaquin Niemann, Maverick McNealy, Jon Rahm and Matthew Fitzpatrick as a winner of the McCormack Medal and we congratulate him on this fantastic achievement…He has delivered a number of outstanding results this season and is a deserving recipient of this award.”
“On behalf of the USGA, I wish to extend our congratulations to Braden Thornberry on being awarded the McCormack Medal,” adds John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director of Championships.
“Braden has had a fine college career, as evidenced by his 2017 NCAA championship, and he has represented the USA with distinction in international competitions, including his role on the victorious 2017 USA Walker Cup Team in Los Angeles.”