Stanford’s Thorbjornsen Wins 119th Western Amateur With 4 and 3 Victory

Michael Thorbjornsen, a sophomore at Stanford, captured the 119th Western Amateur by defeating Gordon Sargent, of Birmingham, Ala., 4 and 3, in the match-play final at Glen View Club in Golf, Ill. 

The 19-year-old Thorbjornsen, from Wellesley, Mass., became the first stroke-play medalist to win the tournament since Norman Xiong in 2017, shooting a course-record 62 earlier in the week to earn the top seed for match play. 

“I was not aware of the select company I’m in now,” said Thorbjornsen, who took charge against Sargent with three straight birdies through the 13th hole to go 4-up with five holes remaining in the championship match. 

“I could kind of feel the momentum switch. But I had to remind myself that I was still leading. That birdie on 11 switched the momentum back in my favor.” 

Thorbjornsen, who also won the 113th Massachusetts Amateur Championship earlier in July, earned invitations into the 2021 U.S. Amateur at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa., next week, and the 2022 Evans Scholars Invitational on the Korn Ferry Tour. 

In the semifinals, Thorbjornsen was 1 down to Austin Greaser of Vadalia, Ohio, before winning three of the last four holes to claim a 2-up victory, while Sargent, who will be a freshman at Vanderbilt, upset defending champion Pierceson Coody of Plano, Texas, 1 up. 

“There’s nothing negative I will take away from this week,” Sargent, 18, 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.”

Early in the week, Thorbjornsen shot 68-62-70-67—267, 13-under-par, to win stroke-play qualifying by one stroke over David Ford of Peachtree Gardens, Fla., who finished at 66-68-69-65—268, and Coody, who wound up at 67-67-64-70—268.

Past champions of the Western Amateur include Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Francis Ouimet, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Justin Leonard, Tom Weiskopf, Lanny Wadkins, Hal Sutton, Andy North, Chris DiMarco, Jim Weichers, Bobby Clampett, Andy Bean, Tommy Aaron, Mason Rudolph, Eddie Merrins, Bob E. Smith, Steve Melnyk, Jim Nelford, Scott Verplank, Charlie Coe, Chick Evans, Joel Kribel, Jamie Lovemark, Rik Massengale, Danny Lee, Beau Hossler and Cole Hammer.

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