In his first-ever PGA Tour start, it was the little things that blew away Stanford star Michael Thorbjornsen.
“It was unbelievable,” Thornbjornsen told GOLF’s Subpar co-hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stolz of this summer’s Traveler’s Championship in a video you can watch below. “I think I remember at registration, I can’t remember who said it, but this one lady who was checking me in said, ‘Yeah, the players loved this week. You should really try and come again next year.’
“Everyone’s asking, ‘Oh, what can I do for you to make this whole week easier?’ Like the guys in the locker room, just everything. It’s the best tournament that I’ve played and when it comes to player hospitality.”
Thornbjornsen had played in the US Open in 2018 and the week prior at Brookline, but the then-20-year-old was taken aback by getting all his meals provided for the week.
Perhaps the free food is what fueled him that week to the best finish by an amateur on the PGA Tour since 2016. The now-junior at Stanford birdied the 11th hole in the final round to pull within a stroke of eventual winner Xander Schauffele before playing the last seven holes two over to finish in a tie for fourth.
“It was kind of a blur,” Thornbjornsen recalled. “I eagled 7 … birdied 8, 9, 10 and 11 and I kind of forgot how many holes I had just played and then saw the leaderboard.”
He said he knew he was near the lead, but was trying not to think about it. He did notice how many people were now following him.
“I didn’t really realize it until I made my putt on 11 for birdie and the huge roar from the crowd kind of like shook me like a little bit,” the New Englander said. “It kind of came out of nowhere. I looked up and there’s just 10 times more people.”
He bogeyed the next two holes to fall out of contention, but the up-and-comer still saw the value in the performance.
“I think it was a really good learning experience because personally, for me, I probably wasn’t ready to win a PGA tournament,” Thorbjornsen said. “I believe that I have the game to be able to finish it off, but just at the time it’s probably not.”
For more from Thorbjornsen, including his experiences winning the 2016 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National, check out the full episode below.