L to R Ellen Hume, Kennedy Swann, Patrick Welch
The East Lake Cup kicked off the second quarter of the collegiate golf season on Monday. The home of the PGA Tour Championship played host to eight of the best collegiate golf teams in the country.
I said Ole Miss was just happy to be at the East Lake Cup. While I’m not completely wrong, the Rebels put on an absolute stripe show on Monday and made me wary of the Twitter watchdog ‘Old Takes Exposed’.
The No. 10 team in the final Golfstat rankings last season, Ole Miss got the invite into the East Lake Cup due to the ACC, Big 10, and Pac-12 all opted out of the fall season. Making the most of the invite, the Rebels not only took the top seed heading into Tuesday’s match play but they had two players tie for co-medalist honors.
Ellen Hume and Kennedy Swann shared medalist honors thanks to matching rounds of 3-under 69.
Hume, the first of the two to finish, grabbed birdies on Nos. 14, 15, and 17 to get to three under. Her front nine consisted of two bogeys on Nos. 2 and 4 that were bookended by birdies on Nos. 1 and 9. Posting a 69, the 2019 English Women’s Amateur champion looked on from the hill overlooking No. 18 while her teammate Swann made her way up the par 5 to tie.
Swann’s round was about as smooth as it gets. Two under at the turn, Swann’s lone misstep of the day came at the par-4 10th. Carding a bogey, Swann got the dropped shot back at the par-5 14th with a birdie. Missing an opportunity to tie on the 17th, Swann pulled her drive left on the par-5 last.
Needing a birdie to tie and an eagle to win outright, Swann has the power to get there in two, but with the lie she had in the rough it reminded her of Rory McIlroy’s worm burner a couple of years ago that took his greed and immediately deposited it into the water in front of 18 green.
Wisely laying up, Swann proceeded to get up and down to make a birdie and tie her teammate.
Making me eat my words, the defending SEC champions placed four of their five players inside the top-10 for a 5-under 283 as they take the No. 1 seed and will battle Texas on Tuesday.
As the women wrapped up, the men were shaking things up down the stretch.
Oklahoma’s Quade Cummins looked as though it was his tournament to lose. It turns out that it actually was.
The Sooner graduate senior was five under through 12 and was seemingly pulling away from the competition. Hanging around was Cummins’ teammate, Patrick Welch. Welch, who played the front nine at one under with four birdies, played a near-perfect back nine to make up the ground between him and Cummins. It was not until No. 14 when Oklahoma assistant Bill Allcorn got into Welch’s ear about where he was compared to his teammate.
“I was three under at that point,” Welch said post-round. “He [Allcorn] said ‘Quade’s coming...you need to get a few more’.
Able to get one more birdie on the 18th, Welch posted a bogey-free back nine 32 to go along with his front nine 35 for a 5-under 67. All he could do was wait and see as Cummins finished his last few holes.
Cummins made bogey on No. 16 to drop to four under but still had a chance to make noise with the 18th reachable in two for the long bomber.
Making a mess of the last, Cummins flubbed his third and fourth shots into the 18th green resulting in a bogey six and a 3-under 69 to give Welch the spotlight and solo medalist honors. Cummins shared a T-2 finish alongside Pepperdine's RJ Manke at three under.
The win is Welch’s first since the sudden passing of his father, Marty. While at the U.S. Amateur at Bandon Dunes, Marty unexpectedly passed due to a heart attack. Patrick, the oldest of four children gives the Welch family a bright light to follow in some of their darkest times.
Oklahoma will turn the page as they will take on Red River rival Texas in the semifinal match play round Tuesday.
Welch joked that he hates the Longhorns but added that;
“They’re a really great team too. We played them in the national championship my freshman year, we played them in the Big 12 [match play] this past fall. It’s 1-1 right now but we’ll see what happens tomorrow. They’re a great team and we’ll have to play our best to beat them.”
On the other side of the bracket, Pepperdine and Texas Tech will square off for a spot in Wednesday’s championship match. In the women’s bracket, No. 1 seed Ole Miss plays Texas while South Carolina faces off against Florida.
Coverage resumes on Golf Channel a 3 p.m. ET Tuesday.
ABOUT THE East Lake Cup
Started in 2015 and hosted by the historic
Lake Golf Club Atlanta, this collegiate, three-day
play competition features the top-performing
from the previous year's NCAA Men’s
Golf Championships. There is an individual award for
the low 18-hole scorer
in the seeding round.
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