By Ole Miss Media Relations
OXFORD – The Ole Miss men’s golf team earned its fourth consecutive NCAA Regional bid and will head to Atlanta, Ga., May 20-22. The 13-team regional will be played at Capital City Club, Crabapple.
The Rebels earned the No. 7 seed in the Atlanta Regional which also features the nation’s No. 1 team, Oklahoma State.
This marks the program’s ninth NCAA appearance overall and fourth since head coach Ernest Ross returned to the program in 2004.
Of the six regional sites, the Atlanta one was the obvious choice of the players and coaches.
“I am really excited about the site we got. I hoped for Atlanta, because we’re more familiar with the grasses that they have there. Washington and California would be a little different,” Ross said.
Ross says he likes the course, a 7,137-yard, par 72 layout, and that it suits his team.
“We do have a good bit of length on this team, so any course that is longer favors us. I have not played it personally. I am just going on what I’ve heard from other coaches. We do have length, with Joe David and Pete Kellermann, two of the longer hitters in the country,” Ross said.
The Rebels have been led this year by junior Jonathan Randolph, who is one of the nation’s top golfers. The Brandon, Miss., native is excited about the team heading back to Georgia for the fifth time this year.
“It’s exciting and it’s a relief. We’ve been done with school for a couple days and we haven’t had a tournament since SECs. We’ve been waiting and wondering if we were going to have to get on a flight to Washington or California. It’s nice to know we can hop on the van and drive to Atlanta. We’ve played a lot of tournaments in Georgia this year. I love going back to Georgia,” said the All-SEC first team honoree.
As Ross noted, the Rebels are a young team, with two freshmen and two sophomores joining Randolph. After a slow start to the year in the fall, the Rebels captured second at the SEC Championship at Sea Island, Ga., for their fourth consecutive top-five finish and are currently ranked No. 40.
“We’re playing very good right now. We finished in the top five in every tournament this spring except for the first one,” Randolph said. “We’re a really good ball-striking team. As noted, we went to SECs this year and performed really well on a tight course. The more you need to hit the ball in the fairway, the better we are. Especially with the weather warming up, the balls go further, and it definitely gives us an advantage against the rest of the field.”
Ten SEC teams made the field. Arkansas joins the Rebels in the Atlanta Regional as the No. 5 seed. Florida and LSU are in the Notre Dame Regional, Tennessee will be in the San Diego State Regional, Georgia and Auburn made the Texas A&M Regional and South Carolina, Alabama and Vanderbilt are in the Yale Regional.
The top five teams from each regional will advance to the NCAA Finals in Chattanooga, Tenn., June 1-6.