GOLF, Ill. (Saturday, July 31, 2021) – Michael Thorbjornsen, of Wellesley, Massachusetts, made quite a first impression at the 119th Western Amateur at Glen View Club.

In his debut performance, the 19-year-old Stanford sophomore shot a course record 62 on Wednesday on his way to earning medalist honors and, eventually, the George R. Thorne Trophy. Thorbjornsen beat Vanderbilt freshman Gordon Sargent, of Birmingham, Alabama, 4 and 3 in Saturday’s championship match.

He joined a collection of Western Amateur champions that includes Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

“I was not aware of the select company I’m in now,” said Thorbjornsen, who also earned an invitation to the 2022 Evans Scholars Invitational on the Korn Ferry Tour.

After Sargent strung together birdies at Nos. 9 and 10 to get 1 down, Thorbjornsen responded with run of three birdies in a row to go 4 up with five holes remaining. They tied the next two holes with pars to end the match.

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

Thorbjornsen needed a late rally on Saturday morning to advance to the final. He trailed North Carolina junior Austin Greaser, of Vandalia, Ohio, 1 down after Greaser holed out for birdie from a bunker on the par-3 14th. But Thorbjornsen birdied No. 15 — the most difficult hole all week — and followed with another at the 17th to take the lead for good.

He carried that momentum over to the final by winning four of the first six holes.

“He was locked in early,” said Drew Cohen, his best friend and caddie. “I could tell something special was going to happen. Even though we had that big lead, we didn’t want to overlook [Sargent] or get overconfident. But I will say Michael is very intimidating to play against.”

Thorbjornsen flexed his muscle during stroke play. His 8-under 62 in the second round established the Glen View Club course record, and he finished 13 under after 72 holes. Thorbjornsen is the first solo medalist to win the title since Norman Xiong in 2017 at Skokie Country Club in Glencoe, Illinois.

The 18-year-old Sargent, another Western Amateur first-timer, showcased his talent and potential all week. He shot 9 under during stroke play to take seventh, carding 65 in the second round. In the semifinals of match play, he defeated defending champion and Texas senior Pierceson Coody, of Plano, Texas, 1 up. Coody is the No. 2-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

“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.”

Thorbjornsen plays next at the U.S. Amateur at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. Sargent is waiting to see if his WAGR ranking improves enough to get him into the field.

“I definitely think this helps me snag a spot,” he said.

First played at Glen View Club in 1899, the Western Amateur is the world’s third oldest amateur championship, behind the British Amateur (1855) and the U.S. Amateur (1895). It regularly attracts the top players from across the country and around the world, with past champions like Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

To learn more, visit thewesternamateur.com.

Sweet 16 Results
Friday, July 30, 2021

Upper Bracket
Michael Thorbjornsen, Wellesley, Massachusetts, def. Maxwell Moldovan, Uniontown, Ohio, 2 and 1
Ricky Castillo, Yorba Linda, California, def. Joe Highsmith, Lakewood, Washington, 1 up
Austin Greaser, Vandalia, Ohio, def. Trent Phillips, Inman, South Carolina, 20 holes
Brian Stark, Kingsburg, California, def. Johnny Travale, Ontario, Canada, 2 and 1

Lower Bracket
David Ford, Peachtree Corners, Georgia, def. Johnny Keefer, San Antonio, Texas, 1 up
Gordon Sargent, Birmingham, Alabama, def. Leo Oyo, San Diego, California, 1 up
Pierceson Coody, Plano, Texas, def. Karl Vilips, Perth, Australia, 2 and 1
Luke Potter, Encinitas, California, def. James Piot, Canton, Michigan, 1 up

Quarterfinal Results
Friday, July 30, 2021

Upper Bracket
Thorbjornsen def. Castillo, 2 up
Greaser def. Stark, 2 and 1

Lower Bracket
Sargent def. Ford, 4 and 2
Coody def. Potter, 20 holes

Semifinal Results
Saturday, July 31, 2021

Upper Bracket
Thorbjornsen def. Greaser, 2 up

Lower Bracket
Sargent def. Coody, 1 up

Final Result
Saturday, July 31, 2021
Saturday, July 31, 2021
Thorbjornson def. Sargent, 4 and 3


About Author

Glen Turk is a Wisconsin native who has been the Senior Writer/Editor of Midwest Golfing Magazine since 2006. Besides being an avid golfer, Glen enjoys traveling, music, and cheering on the finest professional sports team of all-time, the Green Bay Packers. Glen’s ultimate golf goal is to play in all fifty states and currently he is more than half way there. His other dream, albeit far-fetched, it to record an ace in all seven states of our distribution area. Thanks to an ace in Illinois in 2015, and one in Michigan in 2016, he has three down, four to go!

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