DUBAI: As the No. 1 player in the PGA TOUR University ranking at the end of the fall college golf season, Stanford senior Michael Thorbjornsen has earned an exemption into the DP World Tour’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic.
The Rolex Series event and the 35th edition of the tournament will be played at Emirates Golf Club between Jan. 18 to 21 and is the third year the tournament has offered an exemption to PGA TOUR University’s top-ranked player.
Thorbjornsen competed in the 2023 Hero Dubai Desert Classic on a sponsor exemption and posted a third-round 64 en route to a T20 finish in his first start on the DP World Tour. He also has four made cuts on the PGA TOUR, highlighted by a fourth-place finish at the 2022 Travelers Championship, and he qualified for the US Open three times.
His junior season at Stanford included wins at the Fighting Illini Invitational and Pac-12 Championship, and he was named 2023 Pac-12 Golfer of the Year and a PING First-Team All-American.
Texas A and M’s Sam Bennett (2022) and Texas Tech’s Ludvig Aberg (2023) were the first two players to earn the PGA TOUR University exemption into the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.
Since their starts in the event, Bennett went on to win the 2022 US Amateur and finished T16 at the 2023 Masters, and Aberg competed for Europe at the 2023 Ryder Cup and has wins at the DP World Tour’s Omega European Masters and the PGA TOUR’s RSM Classic.
Thorbjornsen will join world No. 2 and defending champion Rory McIlroy, who will be searching for his fourth Dallah Trophy in January with organizers set to announce more big players in the coming weeks.
Simon Corkill, executive tournament director of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, said: “Helping develop the next stars of tomorrow – both locally and overseas – is very important for us and our partnership with the PGA Tour provides a platform for golf’s young rising stars to not only compete against the world’s best professionals but also gain vital competitive experience that will help them take their game to the next level.
“We look forward to welcoming Michael Thorbjornsen to the Hero Dubai Desert Classic in January following an impressive year on the PGA Tour University calendar.”
Golf Channel will air all four rounds live of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic in the US and Canada, with SKY Sports Golf providing live event coverage in the UK and Ireland.
In partnership with the World Amateur Golf Ranking, PGA TOUR University ranks collegiate players based on their average performance in NCAA Division I men’s team competitions, official PGA TOUR tournaments, and select DP World Tour events over a two-year ranking period.