Braden Thornberry continues his amazing year with a victory at prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur Tournament of Champions.


Ole Miss sophomore Braden Thornberry Saturday won the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur Tournament of Champions in Johnstown, Pa., adding to another achievement to the most successful year a Mississippi amateur golfer has ever experienced.

Thornberry defeated defending champion Collin Morikawa in a playoff, shooting his second straight 65 to come from three shots off the pace.

Thornberry’s 72-hole total (68-69-65-65 – 267) was 13-under par.

In late May, Thornberry shot 11-under over 72 holes to win the NCAA Championship at Sugar Grove, Ill. He followed that by finishing tied for fourth in the PGA Tour’s Fed Ex St. Jude Classic at Memphis last weekend. It was his first PGA Tour tournament.

The Olive Branch native won five college tournaments his sophomore season and earned the Fred Haskins Award as the best player in college golf.

Randy Watkins – the Jackson-area golf pro who once won a national junior championship, had a tremendous college career at Ole Miss and then played the PGA Tour – says he is astonished at what Thornberry has achieved.

“Honestly, nobody in Mississippi has ever come close to what Braden’s done and is still doing,” Watkins said.

The Sunnehanna tournament has a long history as one of the top amateur events in the world. Past winners include Rickie Fowler, Lucas Glover, Scott Verplank, Brad Faxon, John Cook and Ben Crenshaw.

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Rick Cleveland, a native of Hattiesburg and resident of Jackson, has been Mississippi Today’s sports columnist since 2016. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s in journalism, Rick has worked for the Monroe (La.) News Star World, Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger. He was sports editor of Hattiesburg American, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. His work as a syndicated columnist and celebrated sports writer has appeared in numerous magazines, periodicals and newspapers.
Rick has been recognized 13 times as Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year, and is recipient of multiple awards and honors for his reporting and writing.