SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – Coming into the day trailing by two strokes, Braden Thornberry of Ole Miss carded a final round one-under par 71 on Monday to win the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf individual title at Rich Harvest Farms. Thornberry, who became the first player in Ole Miss history to win the national championship, finished with an 11-under par total of 277.
“It was a really special week,” Thornberry said. “Really just from the start, got off to a great start, six-under through the first 12 of the week, and that kind of got me started off on the right foot and really just went from there and tried to stay patient. The lead kept kind of creeping up. I tried to just stay in position until today and play a good round, and I was right there.”In difficult, windy conditions where the course played more than five strokes over par, Thornberry got off to a good start with a birdie on the par-three third hole. On the sixth, Thornberry drove the green and holed his putt for an eagle as he made the turn at two-under, four strokes ahead of the field.
The sophomore from Olive Branch, Mississippi, dropped a pair of shots in his first five on the back nine but ended the round with a birdie on the 18th to win by four strokes over Mason Overstreet of Arkansas (-7, 281).
“I drove the ball really well, which is really important on this golf course,” Thornberry said of his final round. “I think the first fairway I missed was maybe on the 15th hole or so, so I really should have been doing better than I was even, playing from the fairway all day. But that's just kind of the key to this golf course, and fortunately I was hitting it straight today, so that made life a little bit easier.”
Matthias Schwab and Theo Humphrey of Vanderbilt, along with Scottie Scheffler of Texas, finished in a three-way tie for third at six-under, 282.
In the team competition, Vanderbilt posted a team total of 293, tied for the best round of the day, to finish with a 72-hole total of 1139, 12 strokes ahead of second-place Oklahoma. The Commodores will meet UNLV in Tuesday’s quarterfinals after the Rebels posted a final round of 312.
“We got off to a good start and I thought that was really important,” said Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh. “In these final rounds of tournaments you really want to get your feet on the ground. We came into the final round in a good spot but you still don’t want to be in a position where it is a dog fight the whole way, so I was proud of how we hung in there.”
No. 2 seed Oklahoma will meet a familiar conference foe, No. 7 Baylor, in the quarterfinals; the Bears finished with a Monday round of 304.
Oregon made the biggest move of the round, tying Vanderbilt’s total of 293 to improve eight places and reach the match play as the No. 5 seed. The defending national champion Ducks will face No. 4 seed Oklahoma State in Tuesday’s match play quarterfinals.
Illinois improved two places in Monday’s round to earn the No. 3 seed; the Fighting Illini will square off against No. 6 seed Southern California in the quarterfinals.
Golf Channel will begin its coverage of Tuesday’s match play at 8:30 a.m. CT with Golf Central Pre Game, followed by live coverage of the quarterfinals beginning at 10 a.m. CT. Golf Central Pre Game will return at 12:30 p.m. CT ahead of match play semifinal coverage, which will begin at 3 p.m. CT.
Golf Channel / NCAA Tuesday airtimes:
- Quarterfinals – Team Match Play 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. CT
- Semifinals – Team Match Play 3-7 p.m. CT
Schools (with seed) advancing to team match play quarterfinals include:
- Oklahoma State
- Southern California
Quarterfinal Matchups, May 30:
- No. 1 Vanderbilt vs. No. 8 UNLV, 7:50 a.m. (Hole No. 1)
- No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 7 Baylor, 7 a.m. (Hole No. 1)
- No. 3 Illinois vs. No. 6 Southern California, 7 a.m. (Hole No. 10)
- No. 4 Oklahoma State vs. No. 5 Oregon, 7:50 a.m. (Hole No. 10)
Semifinal Matchups, May 30:
- 1:30 p.m. – Winner of Vanderbilt-UNLV vs. Winner of Oregon-Oklahoma State
- 2:20 p.m. – Winner of Oklahoma-Baylor vs. Winner of Oklahoma State-Oregon