Ole Miss' Thornberry wins NCAA title by four

By Ryan LavnerMay 30, 2017, 2:52 am

SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – It took all of 30 minutes for the NCAA Championship to be turned upside down Monday.

Texas junior Scottie Scheffler lost his tee shot on his second hole of the day (the 11th) to hand Braden Thornberry a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.

The Ole Miss sophomore with the funky swing and admirable pace of play continued his meteoric rise by capturing the NCAA individual title by four shots at Rich Harvest Farms.

Thornberry finished at 11-under 277 following a final-round 71, one of just four sub-par scores on Monday, when the wind gusted to 40 mph. Scheffler, who led by two shots heading into the final round, shot 78 to tie for third.

“It was a really special week,” said Thornberry, who played the final round as an individual after his team missed the 54-hole NCAA cut.

It was the 20-year-old’s seventh victory over the past two years, and his fifth this season. He also had 10 top-5s, putting him in line to sweep the season-ending awards.

“The only thing he’s ever struggled with is realizing he belongs,” Ole Miss coach Chris Malloy said. “I think that trophy will help prove that to himself.”

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Thornberry mopped up on the local junior circuit in Mississippi but wasn’t heavily recruited, partly because of his unorthodox swing. It was his father, Les, a scratch golfer who works for UPS, who taught him that move.

“Everyone when they’re younger comes over the top,” Thornberry said, “so he gave me the little loop move to get that away, and I just liked the feel of it and went from there.”

Braden committed to Ole Miss as a high-school freshman.

“Some of us as coaches saw that funky swing and crazy grip and said, ‘Oh, that won’t last,’” said Alabama coach Jay Seawell, who has watched Thornberry play since he was 12. “But he plays golf his way, and it’s a good way. He isn’t scared, and I love that.”

Even with two victories during his freshman season, Thornberry wasn’t considered a top-tier player until his victory this February at the Jones Cup. In typically brutal conditions at Ocean Forest, one of the most difficult layouts in amateur golf, Thornberry won wire-to-wire to beat a top field by five shots.

This was much more stressful than that cakewalk.

Thornberry drove the par-4 sixth and made eagle to open up a four-shot lead, but he played the next 11 holes in 2 over.

Fortunately for him, all of his pursuers faded on their final nine holes.

Scheffler held steady after his 4-over start, but he twice hit a tree on his final hole of the day and made double.

Vanderbilt’s Matthias Schwab rinsed two shots on the 15th hole to make triple and fall five back.

Arkansas’ Mason Overstreet, playing in the same group as Thornberry, bogeyed the 16th and 17th holes to take some of the pressure off.

“Today is probably when I was most proud of him,” Malloy said. “He faced a lot of adversity.”

It’s the first NCAA golf title for the Rebels, the type of signature victory that can change a program.

“It validates everything that we’ve said since I got the job three years ago,” Malloy said. “All I heard was that if you go to Ole Miss you couldn’t win a national championship. He’s proven you can do that.”

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McIlroy 'committed to everything ... ran out of holes'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 7:08 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy summed it up: “I don’t really feel like it’s a defeat. I feel like it’s a good week.”

McIlroy, in search of his fifth major, tied for the lead at The Open late on Sunday at Carnoustie when he made eagle on the par-5 14th hole. An hour later, he had made five consecutive pars to close out a 1-under 70 and tie for second place with Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.

That group ended two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. McIlroy thought it was realistic to squeeze one more shot out of his round, but he never though it was possible to squeeze out two.

“I committed to everything,” he said. “I hit the shots when I needed to. I made good swings on 17 and on 18. I just ran out of holes.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

McIlroy hasn’t played poorly this year, but this hasn't been a year that would rank as a total success. He took the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and collected a second-place finish at the BMW PGA Championship. He had a legitimate chance to win the Masters before a terrible Sunday round, and then missed the cut at the U.S. Open last month at Shinnecock Hills.

Sunday at Carnoustie, McIlroy bogeyed two of his first five holes and quickly became an afterthought. When others faltered, McIlroy birdies Nos. 9 and 11, then eagled 14 to vault back into the picture.

“I’m happy with how I played,” he said. “I didn’t get off to a great start, but I hung in there, and I battled back.

“So I’ll look back at this week and be very encouraged about what I’ve done and the golf that I played. I feel like that will stand me in good stead for what’s coming up.”

McIlroy is scheduled to play the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks, followed by the PGA Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs.

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Edoardo, other pros congratulate Francesco on Twitter

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:54 pm

Francesco Molinari played a bogey-free weekend at Carnoustie to claim Italy's first claret jug.

His rock-solid performance in the final round earned him his share of social media plaudits.

Here's a collection of Twitter hat-tips, and we start off with Frankie's brother, Dodo.

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Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:37 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods stood on the 18th tee and thought he needed birdie to have a chance to win The Open. He pulled driver out of his bag, a sign he wanted to boot the ball as far down the fairway as possible.

Woods took a mighty swat and - right in the middle of his downswing - someone yelled. Woods flinched.

Luckily his ball still found a decent spot just off the right of the fairway.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I’ve had things like that happen a lot in my career with people who just tried to time it,” Woods said Sunday at Carnoustie after shooting 71 to tie for sixth place. “They tipped back a few, and it’s late in the day.

“Unfortunately, that’s part of what we have to deal with in today’s game. People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be in social media or whatever it may be. That was too close to the game of play.”

Woods hit his approach to 6 feet and missed the birdie putt. He tapped in for par to shoot even par and finish 5 under for the week, in a tie for sixth.

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Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:30 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and, for a little while, took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

His fellow pros were watching and tweeting like your average fans.

We compiled some of their missives below:

Woods would go on to finish in a tie for sixth at 5 under par for the week.