LOS ANGELES – Braden Thornberry’s U.S. Amateur run ended in the Round of 32 Thursday at Riviera Country Club, as the 2016 NCAA champion lost to Australian Travis Smyth, 3 and 2.
What’s next for the 20-year-old Thornberry? He’ll likely be back in Los Angeles for the Walker Cup next month, but right now he’s headed back to Ole Miss for his junior year.
There were some rumblings that Thornberry was considering turning pro. In addition to winning the NCAA individual title, Thornberry received the Haskins Award as college golf’s top play last season and then tied for fourth in his PGA Tour debut, at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in June.
Those rumblings were true, Thornberry said Wednesday at Riviera. But after talking with his family and Ole Miss head coach Chris Malloy, as well as seeking advice from former four-year college players Ollie Schniederjans and Maverick McNealy, Thornberry made the easy decision to stay in school.
“Mainly I’m still working on some consistency,” Thornberry said. “Coach Malloy, he’s really groomed me and I’ve gotten better every single semester. I think it would kind of be a dumb decision for me to leave early while I am still in that environment and I’m still getting tournaments for free and can have a great practice facility.
“That was kind of behind my decision. I’ve talked to a lot of pros. … You can only make a bad decision leaving early. No one ever thinks it’s a horrible decision staying.”