Michael Thorbjornsen, one of the best players in amateur golf, is set to make his return this week after an extended layoff because of a back injury.
The senior at Stanford will tee it up this week at the DP World Tour’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic, his first start since last summer at the Western Amateur, where he was one of 16 golfers to make match play. A week before the U.S. Amateur last August, Thorbjornsen announced he would miss the competition, as well as the Walker Cup, because of a stress fracture in his back.
Ranked fourth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Thorbjornsen received the exemption into the Dubai Desert Classic thanks to his ranking in the PGA Tour University standings. As the No. 1 player, he received an exemption into the field and will play alongside stars like Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood and others at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Dubai Desert Classic: Photos
Last summer, he made four professional starts, including his third at the U.S. Open. He missed three cuts but finished T-17 at the John Deere Classic. Thorbjornsen also finished fourth at the 2022 Travelers Championship.
He competed at the Dubai Desert Classic last year and finished T-20, including a 64 in the third round. This is the third year the tournament has offered an exemption to the top player in the PGA Tour University rankings, with Sam Bennett (2022) and Ludvig Aberg (2023) earning the spots the previous two years.
As a junior, Thorbjornsen won the Fighting Illini Invitational and Pac-12 Championship. He was also tabbed 2023 Pac-12 Golfer of the Year and earned Golfweek First Team All-America honors.