Michael Thorbjornsen (May 27, 2024) [1296x729]
Michael Thorbjornsen (May 27, 2024) [1296x729] (Credit: EPA/ERIK S. LESSER)

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Michael Thorbjornsen of Stanford finished No. 1 in the PGA Tour University standings and secured his PGA Tour card as soon as he turns professional.

Thorbjornsen, a 22-year-old from Massachusetts, was one of the top players in college golf this season and has capitalized on the relatively new pathway for amateurs to qualify for the tour directly through college. Thorbjornsen accrued a high enough points average over the past two years to finish the 2023-24 NCAA season atop the rankings.

Points are awarded for playing college tournaments as well as getting into professional events. Thorbjornsen has made the cut in four professional tournaments already, most recently the 2023 John Deere Classic. He placed fourth at the 2022 Travelers Championship, where he was playing on an exemption.

Thorbjornsen, whose four-year Stanford career concluded when he missed the 54-hole cut at the NCAA championship, would be eligible for the remainder of the 2024 PGA Tour season and the entire 2025 season whenever he turns pro.

"PGA Tour U is, I think, one of the best programs in all of sports," Thorbjornsen said in a news release from the tour. "What they've done, creating a pathway to the PGA Tour and to these different tours underneath it, it's huge. It gives students and us golfers reasons to stay for four years, and you can't really pass up on the opportunities that they present to you."

The PGA Tour University pathway has been tweaked and modified, and last year was the first time a player who finished No. 1 in a given season received immediate access to the PGA Tour.

That player was Ludvig Åberg, a Swede who parlayed his career at Texas Tech into a white-hot start to his pro career. He won one tournament apiece on the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour, played for the victorious Team Europe at the Ryder Cup, finished second to Scottie Scheffler at last month's Masters and is currently ranked No. 6 in the world.

"Ludvig, even though he's been on tour for say a year now, he's top 10 in the world, he's done unbelievable things recently," Thorbjornsen said. "We're good friends, we competed a lot last year, so he's someone I look up to but I'm also trying to beat him as well."