Ole Miss women's golf (Ole Miss Athletics/Twitter photo)
If there’s a game ball inside the Ole Miss women’s golf huddle, then there was no one more deserving of it Sunday at the SEC finals than Macy Somoskey. The freshman played 62 holes of match play throughout the weekend and turned in three match-deciding victories for the Rebels, none more important than the 22-hole showdown that gave Ole Miss its first SEC title in program history.
"I think this puts us on the map a little bit," said Ole Miss head coach Kory Henkes. "I know we were the underdog coming in all week. We kept telling the girls to grind it out and stay patient, hit fairways and greens and make your pars. I'm so excited and so proud of this group. This is unbelievable."
On Friday, Ole Miss earned the eighth and final spot onto the match-play bracket after 54 holes of stroke play at Greystone Golf Club in Birmingham, Ala. After defeating Florida and Georgia in the first two rounds of match play, the Rebels met South Carolina in Sunday’s championship match.
South Carolina was days removed from winning the Liz Murphey Collegiate – another tournament decided by match play.
South Carolina got the first points of the day when Ana Palaez defeated Ellen Hutchinson-Kay, 6 and 5. Shortly after, Kennedy Swann got Ole Miss on the board after defeating the Gamecocks’ No. 1 player, Emily Price, 2 up.
The third match went Ole Miss’ way when Julia Johnson, who also finished the week with a 3-0 match-play record, defeated South Carolina’s Marion Veysseyre, 2 up. When South Carolina won the last match out, it put the pressure on Somoskey.
Interestingly, Somoskey has only made seven of 12 starts with the team, including only one start in the fall season. She has acclimated well in the spring. On Sunday, she spent most of the day trailing Lois Kaye Go, but clawed her way back in it on the back nine and forced a playoff. Somoskey dropped 40-foot bomb to force extra holes.
The pair made pars on the first three playoff holes on 16, 17 and 18 that required more clutch putts. When Go put it in the water on the fourth playoff hole (at No. 18), Somoskey capitalized with a par to win it for her team.
"It was just taking it one step at a time out there," Somoskey said. "First step was getting to match play. We grinded it out against Florida yesterday and Georgia this morning. We got the job done against South Carolina, and it's just unbelievable."
With the win, the Rebels earn the Automatic Qualifying spot into regional play. Last year, the team played its way into the NCAA Championship for the first time in program history.
Information from Ole Miss Athletics used in this report
ABOUT THE SEC Women's Championship
54-hole stroke play tournament crowns an individual
champion, then four teams advance to match play
determine the SEC team champion.
View Complete Tournament Information