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Ceres High grad still chasing the PGA dream
Ryan Thornberry, a former standout golfer at Ceres High School and Cal State Stanislaus, turned pro in November of 2006.

The 24-year-old is currently preparing to embark on his third season on the Canadian Tour.

"I get to do something I love and get paid for it," he said. "Not a lot of people get to do that. It's really not a bad way to live."

Thornberry made 11 of 14 cuts in 2008. He earned $17,018. His best showing was a tie for sixth-place at the Iberostar Riviera Maya Open.

"I had a solid year," he said. "I put myself in contention several times, but I never closed the deal. I'm not happy with that. I'd really like to win a few tournaments this year."

The 2009 Canadian Tour will get underway later this month. Thornberry plans to compete in a total of seven tournaments, including five in Canada and two in Mexico. He'll make his first appearance at the IDN Yucatan Country Club Classic (May 4), followed by the Iberostar Riviera Maya Open (May 11).

"I'm having more fun now," Ryan said. "I think I put too much pressure on myself before to see results."

Thornberry started playing golf at the age of seven. He's had an accomplished career.

Prior to joining the professional ranks, Ryan captured the 2006 California Amateur Championship.

He was a four-time, All-American at Cal State Stanislaus, where he collected seven titles.

Thornberry claimed the 2001 Northern California Junior Amateur Championship. He was also named the Northern California Junior Golf Association Player of the Year.

Ryan was voted the Central California Conference's Most Valuable Player three years in a row (2000-2002) while starring on the Ceres High boys golf team. He led the Bulldogs to a first-place finish and perfect 18-0 record in league during his senior year.

Thornberry dreams of playing on the PGA Tour.

"I don't really have a timeline set for myself," he said. "One thing that is important is succeeding at every level. I've done that to this point. I believe in myself and my ability. I'm going to put in the time and it's going to payoff eventually."

Ryan will attend PGA Qualifying School this October at the San Juan Oaks Golf Course in Hollister. Thornberry will attempt to reach the third stage, which could lead to full-time status on the Nationwide and/or PGA tours. He qualified for the second stage in 2007 and failed to advance out of the first stage by one stroke last year.

"There is added pressure but I think the most important thing is having confidence in yourself," said Thornberry. "I'm going to treat it like any other tournament. Whoever manages their emotions and has fun has the best chance for success."

Ryan will be holding a fundraiser golf tournament at River Oaks on April 25. Cost is $100 per person. Thornberry and teaching pro Greg Silva will offer a clinic at 10 a.m. The tournament will begin at 1 p.m.

"I wanted to have it there because that's where I grew up," he said. "It's like a second home. They've been good to me. It should be a fun day."