Michael Thorbjornsen finishes off a marathon week with Western Amateur title
Stanford sophomore Michael Thorbjornsen won the Western Amateur in his debut at the grueling amateur event.
Michael Thorbjornsen started Western Amateur week with a Glen View Golf Club course record – his 8-under 62 went into history books that date back 124 years. He ended it with one of golf’s most prestigious amateur trophies. The 19-year-old, who is about to embark on his sophomore season at Stanford, took down a stout list of opponents in four rounds of match play over the past two days to become the Western Amateur champion.
Thorbjornsen, from Wellesley, Massachusetts, made his run from the top of the bracket after rounds of 68-62-70-67 left him at 13 under and one ahead of David Ford and Pierceson Coody (the defending champion) as medalist.
The final three days of the six-day Western Amateur feature double rounds. As soon as Thorbjornsen got to the bracket, he faced recent Southern Amateur champion Maxwell Moldovan, a sophomore at Ohio State. Thorbjornsen downed him, 2 and 1, before facing two-time Western Amateur semifinalist Ricky Castillo in the quarterfinals.
Scores: Western Amateur
Despite Castillo’s match-play chops – he went undefeated at the Walker Cup in May – Thorbjornsen defeated him on the final hole, 2 up.
On Saturday morning, Thorbjornsen defeated North Carolina’s Austin Greaser to reach the final match, where he met incoming Vanderbilt freshman Gordon Sargent.
Thorbjornsen had the advantage for much of the match, but Sargent birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to cut the deficit. Thorbjornsen then won three holes in a row from Nos. 11-13 to set the stage for a 4-and-3 victory.
“I could kind of feel the momentum switch,” Thorbjornsen said of the final. “But I had to remind myself that I was still leading. That birdie on 11 switched the momentum back in my favor.”
What a week at Glen View Club. #WesternAmateur pic.twitter.com/9SEK42Oyqb
— WGA Championships (@WGAChamps) July 31, 2021
This week marked Thorbjornsen’s debut in the Western Amateur. He won the 2018 U.S. Junior and competed in the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, making the cut.
Thorbjornsen is the first solo Western Am medalist to win the title since Norman Xiong in 2017 at Skokie Country Club in Glencoe, Illinois.
Sargent, meanwhile, is coming off a quarterfinal run at last week’s U.S. Junior. Both men earn exemptions into the 2022 Evans Scholars Invitational on the Korn Ferry Tour.
“There’s nothing negative I will take away from this week,” Sargent said. “So many positives. This is the best amateur field and to be able to compete against these players gives me a lot of confidence.”
Already this summer, Thorbjornsen has finished 11th at both the Sunnehanna Amateur and the Northeast Amateur. He also won the Massachusetts Amateur earlier in July by an overwhelming 8-and-6 margin in a final match against 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Matt Parziale.
Thorbjornsen will compete at the U.S. Amateur at Oakmont in two weeks.