Braden Thornberry, 21, of Olive Branch, Miss., has won the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading men’s player in the 2018 World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR). As the McCormack Medal recipient, Thornberry will earn exemptions into the 2019 U.S. Open Championship and 2019 Open Championship, conducted by The R&A, provided he remains an amateur.
Thornberry was chosen second-team All-American as a junior at the University of Mississippi in 2017-18 and became the third player in Ole Miss history to be selected to an All-America team multiple times. He also earned All-Southeast Region and All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) recognition for the second consecutive year. Thornberry, who was the world No. 1 player for 11 weeks, posted nine top-10 finishes, including four wins, and was 15th in the NCAA in stroke average (70.28). He is the program’s career leader with 11 tournament victories.
“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.”
Thornberry, who recently advanced to match play in the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links, qualified for this year’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. Thornberry, who became the first Ole Miss player to be named a Ben Hogan Award finalist, made the 36-hole cut in two PGA Tour events – tied for 26th in the FedEx St. Jude Classic and tied for 61st in the RSM Classic – and tied for 22nd in the Web.com Tour’s North Mississippi Classic.
In 2017, Thornberry won the NCAA Division I individual title by four strokes with a 72-hole score of 11-under 277 and received the Fred Haskins Award as the top collegiate golfer. He registered two singles victories in helping the USA win the Walker Cup Match at Los Angeles (Calif.) Country Club last September. Additionally, he was a key figure in Team USA capturing the 2018 Palmer Cup in France.
“On behalf of the USGA, I wish to extend our congratulations to Braden Thornberry on being awarded the McCormack Medal,” said 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 competition, including his role on the victorious 2017 USA Walker Cup Team in Los Angeles.”
The USGA and The R&A co-award the McCormack Medal annually. It is named after Mark H. McCormack, who founded sports marketing company IMG and was a great supporter of amateur golf.
“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,” said Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Golf Development at The R&A. “He has delivered a number of outstanding results this season and is a deserving recipient of this award.”
The World Amateur Golf Ranking, which is supported by Rolex, was established in 2007 when the men’s ranking was launched. The men’s ranking encompasses more than 2,700 counting events, ranking 6,200 players from 106 countries. The women’s ranking was launched in 2011 and has a calendar of more than 1,850 counting events with more than 2,850 ranked players from 78 countries.