SEA ISLAND, GA (February 5, 2017) -- It was Braden Thornberry's week from beginning to end. The Ole Miss sophomore shot a first round 5-under 67 on Thursday to take the lead and he never looked back on his way to winning the 12th Jones Cup Invitational.
"I'd put this win right at the top for sure," Thornberry, who earned a spot into the PGA Tour's 2017 RSM Classic with the victory, said. "I've won some college tournaments and the Patriot All-America (in 2015) but this is right at the top."
Heading into the final round at the Rees Jones designed Ocean Forest Golf Club round Thornberry held a six-stroke advantage and with nobody able to mount a charge the Olive Branch, MS native was able to ease his way into the winners circle. Thornberry, 4-under for the week, was the only player to end the tourament under-par, as he finished five-strokes in front of Oklahoma senior Max McGreevy.
"The key for me was not really making mistakes," Thornberry explained. "I didn’t necessarily have my best tee to green game but I was able to miss in the right spot and that is always key."
Beginning Sunday 5-under, Thornberry sent an early message to the field with two birdies in his first three holes to reach 7-under and widen his advantage.
"Getting off to a strong start was really good," Thornberry said. "This was the first time in a while that I have been nervous at the start of the round and those birdies really settled me down."
However, despite the large lead the final round wasn't without its hardships (two bogeys and a double-bogey) but Thornberry never saw another player in the field get lower than even-par.
For Thornberry, a three-time winner in the fall, the tournament was truly won on Saturday during the second round.
"The second round was the most important round of the tournament. I just tired to miss in the right spots and if I got in trouble limit it to bogey. At the same time if you hit it good you could make some birdies," said Thornberry.
With the winds blowing consistently in the teens, gusts reaching 30-40 mph and temperatures struggling to reach 50 degrees Thornberry tied the round of the day with an even-par 72 and as others struggled he watched his lead grow from two shots to six.
Max McGreevy concluded his week with a 2-under 70 to follow up rounds of 72-75 and post his 1-over runner-up position, junior star Cole Hammer was third at 2-over while Vanderbilt's Matthias Schwab, Northwestern's Dylan Wu and Clemson's Bryson Nimmer shared fourth at 3-over.