Third-Ranked Thorbjornsen Claimed His First Victory Among Six Finishes in the Top 10
Stanford’s men’s golf team is trying to keep up with the Cardinal women, who captured the NCAA Championship last season and are ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Stanford’s men’s team, ranked fifth in the nation, has captured the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate and the Fighting Illini Invite titles this season, defeated arch-rival Cal in The Big Match in addition to finishing in the top10 in the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invite, the Jackson T. Stephens Cup, The Prestige, The Goodwin and the Cabo Collegiate.
“We realize there is a ton of golf to play this season and beyond, but it always good to compete strongly in one of the top fields in college golf on a U.S. Open venue and win,” Stanford Coach Conrad Ray said after the Fighting Illini Invite victory. “Top teams make winning a habit and that is what we are hoping to try and establish early this season.”
Michael Thorbjornsen, a junior from Wellesley, Mass, claimed his first victory for the Cardinal in Fighting Illini Invite, later tied for third in the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate in addition to tying for third in The Prestige, and has finished in the top 10 in six of seven of his tournaments this season.
Thorbjornsen was selected to the 2022 Arnold Palmer Cup team.
“The whole Stanford Golf community is proud of Michael for making such a prestigious team as The U.S. Palmer Cup Team,” Ray said at the time. “To represent the United States and Stanford on foreign soil is a great honor and especially a neat thing for a Stanford student-athlete. Michael’s results have been great this year and he should be a valuable member of the team. His experience at high levels of amateur golf will serve him well. He joins a strong list of Stanford athletes who have been selected in the past to play on this prestigious squad that celebrates the amazing legacy of Mr. Arnold Palmer.”
Thorbjornsen is ranked No. 3 in the national among college players.
The state of California is well represented in the top 100 of the national rankings with 2021 NCAA champion Pepperdine ranked at No. 9, San Diego State at No. 29, California at No 52, USC at No 56, San Francisco at No. 57, University of San Diego at No. 59, Long Beach State at No. 61, UCLA at No 86, Fresno State at No. 87, Santa Clara at No. 95, Cal State Fullerton at No. 99 and San Jose State at No. 100.
Pepperdine is a sleeper with seven top-10 finishes this season, including a victory in The Prestige, one of the most highly regarded tournaments in college golf, over fourth-ranked Texas Tech.
“I was very impressed with how our guys handled the uncertainty of finishing and the wind today,” said Coach Michael Beard, who guided the Waves to the national championship two years ago and might have a team to do it again. The conditions were extremely difficult, and they stayed in and battled all the way to the end.
“Winning always feels good, and getting this win this early in the Spring season is big for this team. With four seconds in past years, to finally win The Prestige with this group of guys is really special. The guys have worked so hard this year, so it’s nice to see it pay off a little.”
Behind Thorbjornsen in the individual national rankings are Ian Gilligan of Long Beach State at No. 9, Derek Hitchner of Pepperdine at No. 24, Karl Vilips of Stanford at No. 27, William Mouw of Pepperdine at No. 29, Sampson Zheng of California at No 44, Shea Lague of San Diego State at No. 45, Sam Choi of Pepperdine at No. 47 and Barclay Brown of Stanford at No. 97.
Looking at all of this, you might think that California has the best college golf in the nation.