U.S. Amateur favorite withdraws with injury that also will sideline him for next month’s Walker Cup

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At No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and already a selection for the U.S. Walker Cup team competing next month at St. Andrews, Michael Thorbjornsen would have been among the favorites next week to contend at the U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills. Instead the 21-year-old rising senior at Stanford announced on Wednesday that a back injury will sideline him for the next few month, forcing him to miss both the Amateur and the Walker Cup.

“I’m disappointed to share that I am unable to compete in next week’s US Amateur and upcoming Walker Cup due to a stress fracture in my back,” the Pac-12 player of the year wrote on Instagram. “My medical team has recommended a period of inactivity for the fracture to heal properly. While the timing is unfortunate, I anticipate being back to full health this fall. I’ve given it my all this summer and made some great memories. It hurts missing our national amateur championship and not representing Team USA at St. Andrews, but I’m very grateful to the USGA for the honor and their support. I can’t wait to get back with my teammates at Stanford and back on the course as soon as possible.

A native of Welleley, Mass., Thorbjornsen has had a steady summer, led by qualifying for the U.S. Open for the third time in his amateur career and finishing 17th at the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic. (In 2022, he finished fourth at the Travelers Championship.) Last week, he reached the match-play portion of the Western Amateur after winning the title in 2021. He is also ranked No. 1 entering the 2023-24 college season on the PGA Tour University ranking, which provides a direct pathway to earning a PGA Tour card in 2024.

A year ago, Thorbjornsen was among four co-medalists in the U.S. Amateur at Ridgewood Country Club before falling in the first round. In previous appearances in the Amateur, he reached the second round of match play at Oakmont in 2021 and was a quarterfinalist in 2020 at Bandon Dunes.

Thorbjornsen’s USGA success also includes winning the U.S. Junior Amateur title in 2018.

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