NCAA champion Braden Thornberry was announced Wednesday as the recipient of the Fred Haskins Award presented by Stifel, given each year to the top college player as voted on by the players, coaches and golf media.
Thornberry, a rising junior at Ole Miss, won an NCAA-best five individual titles, posted 10 top-5 finishes and led the nation with a 69.61 scoring average. He capped his season by capturing the NCAA individual championship by four strokes – the first NCAA title of any kind for the Ole Miss golf program.
Competing this week at the FedEx St. Jude Classic on a sponsor exemption, Thornberry, 20, will also receive an invitation to the Greenbrier Classic on July 6-9.
A top-10 junior player, he has been a dominant force while at Ole Miss, racking up seven titles and earning first-team All-America honors. Earlier this year, he won the Jones Cup, a prestigious amateur title on Sea Island, which essentially wrapped up his spot on the U.S. Walker Cup team later this fall.
Thornberry made a late push for the Player of the Year award, after Oregon senior Wyndham Clark and LSU sophomore Sam Burns dominated the regular season.
Clark and Burns had the lowest scoring average in college golf and combined for seven individual titles while playing a more difficult schedule than Thornberry.
Entering NCAAs, Burns was thought to have a slight edge on the competition, after he beat Clark head-to-head at regionals, on his home course. (Last week, Burns received the Nicklaus Award as the top player, which is voted on by the Golf Coaches Association of America.) But at nationals, Thornberry broke par all four rounds at Rich Harvest Farms and defeated Burns and Clark by 14 and 19 shots, respectively. It was the first time all three players had been in the same field.