Braden Thornberry is making his fourth career PGA Tour start this week at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, a year after the amateur tied for fourth in his Tour debut at TPC Southwind. As for when he will join the pro ranks, Thornberry reiterated Tuesday in Memphis that he’s not in a rush.
“I haven’t made a for-sure decision,” said Thornberry, a rising senior at Ole Miss who won the 2017 NCAA individual title as a sophomore. “Obviously, the plan right now would be to return to Ole Miss since I’m playing as an amateur this summer, that would be the plan right now for senior year. Ole Miss is a special place to me and pro golf will always be there, so it’s not much of a rush. What Coach Malloy and Coach Ellis are doing down at Ole Miss, and some of the recruits that we have coming in, it’s going to be a really special year next year and I’d like to be a part of it.”
Thornberry, a native of Olive Branch, Miss., near Memphis, has made three of his four cuts in pro events. He tied for 61st at last fall’s RSM Classic and most recently shared 22nd at the Web.com Tour’s North Mississippi Classic.
On Monday, Thornberry made it through U.S. Open sectional qualifying in Memphis and will compete in his first major next week at Shinnecock Hills. After that, he will focus on amateur events, including this summer’s U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach.
Thornberry is the second-ranked amateur in the world and will move to No. 1 once Texas grad Doug Ghim turns pro after the U.S. Open. He would likely garner several endorsement deals should he decide to turn pro early. But he also could add to his impressive college resume, which includes a school-record 11 individual victories and the 2017 Haskins Award, and lead a promising Rebels team that graduated just one player from a squad that finished a spot out of making it back to the NCAA Championship.
Ole Miss is also adding a strong incoming freshmen class, led by Jackson Suber.