Amateur Braden Thornberry shot another low round Saturday to make a significant rise up the leaderboard at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Thornberry, the 2017 NCAA champion who is now a rising senior at Ole Miss, backed up his Friday 66 with a third-round 65 to briefly sit only a few shots off the lead. He was at 6-under 204, and good enough, when he finished his round, to sit inside the top 10.
It’s the second year in a row that Thornberry has found success at TPC Southwind. Last year, he tied for fourth in his PGA Tour debut on the strength of a final-round 65.
Thornberry went out in 30 Saturday and added another birdie on 14 before his only blemish of the third round, a bogey on the 17th. His 65 matched the low round among the early starters.
Thornberry looked to be in danger of missing the cut after an opening 3-over 73.
Earlier this week, Thornberry, the No. 2-ranked amateur in the world, seemed to suggest that he’d remain an amateur through his senior year at Ole Miss.
“I haven’t made a for-sure decision,” he said. “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 the senior year. … 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.”
Because he is playing this week as an amateur, Thornberry is not eligible to receive any earnings, FedExCup points or top-10 exemptions.