Ole Miss will get its match-play day at the East Lake Cup after claiming No. 1 seed

Julie Williams
·3 min read

When the 2019-20 college golf season was canceled, Ole Miss’ women had just bagged a fourth team title for the season. The Rebels were ranked No. 13 in Golfweek’s rankings. They were a good bet for the NCAA match-play bracket.

The premature end of the spring season burned on many levels, and a missed opportunity for an Ole Miss team that was looking to defend its SEC title and make the bracket at the 2019 NCAA Women’s Championship is high on the list of COVID disappointments.

Instead, they’ll get their day on TV this week at the East Lake Cup. The four-team televised match normally is a fall perk for the semifinalists from the previous season’s NCAA Championship. This year, the field was built based on the final spring Golfstat ranking, with teams not playing because of COVID weeded out.

Leaderboard: East Lake Cup

Ole Miss, with an 18-hole score of 5-under 283 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, topped a field that also included South Carolina, Florida and Texas.

In addition to the No. 1 seed, two Ole Miss players also shared the individual title. Fifth-year senior Kennedy Swann and junior Ellen Hume, a transfer from Charleston Southern and the 2019 English Women’s Amateur champ, each got a share of it.

Hume did it on the strength of big closing birdies at Nos. 14, 15 and 17.

“There were definitely chances out there,” Hume told Golf Channel after the round. “Fourteen is a good par 5 that we can attack. Then we had a couple wedges going into 16, 17 and 18. So they were good chances for birdie. I think my up-and-down on 14 definitely gave me some momentum.”

Swann said she had visions of Rory McIlroy coming down the stretch at East Lake. She had to hole a putt for birdie at the last hole to catch her teammate for co-medalist honors.

“I really just tried to take the result out of it,” Swann said. “A lot of times I tend to put way too much pressure on myself in those situations. It definitely helped knowing that a teammate already had the title and that if I did miss it, Ole Miss was still going to hold it.”

Ole Miss head coach Kory Henkes spent the day walking with Hume while assistant coach Zack Byrd walked with Swann. Byrd told Swann she was a shot back coming down the stretch, but he didn’t tell her who she was chasing.

“Everyone on this team really pulls for each other so I know Ellen was just as excited for Kennedy as Kennedy was for her so just an all-around great day for our program,” Henkes said.

The highlights were plentiful for the Rebels. Four players landed inside the top eight. Julia Johnson dropped her approach on the front of the green at the par-4 17th and watched it roll in for eagle, the only one of those on the board for the day.

You never know what kind of firepower you might get out of Ole Miss, a team that claimed the 2019 SEC title in a big-energy match against South Carolina.

Ole Miss faces Texas in the first round of East Lake Cup match play while South Carolina, which just won The Ally last week, will play Florida. The two teams could meet again in Wednesday’s final.