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Former Rebel golf All-American Jonathan Randolph hopes one day to be on that same stage. Right now, the Mississippi native is riding a wave of momentum after finishing in a tie for 21st at last week's PGA Tour True South Classic in Madison, near his hometown of Brandon.
This week Randolph is competing in the Colorado Open--one of the biggest state open championships in the country--on a sponsor's exemption.
Randolph was featured in Wednesday's edition of the Denver Post: Jonathan Randolph has game rolling in right direction heading into HealthOne Colorado Open.
Randolph shot 66 in Thursday's first round at the Green Valley Ranch Club and was at the top of the leaderboard.
The Brandon native received a sponsor's exemption for the third year in a row. The previous two years, Randolph played in the field as an amateur, and even made the cut last year.
Randolph has been traveling the country this summer playing on the NGA Tour for smaller purses and also playing in Monday qualifiers for Tour events. This weekend, he nearly doubled his earnings on that tour.
The former Ole Miss All-American and three-time All-SEC honoree carded a 67 in the first round and followed up with a 69 in the second round. After weather disrupted the schedule each day, Randolph spent about 14 hours on the course Saturday. When he left the course at 8:06 pm Randolph stood in a tie for sixth at -12 with just a few holes remaining in his third round.
A top 10 finish would have earned Randolph a spot in next week's Canadian Open, but it was not meant to be, as he struggled to get anything going in the final round.
"It was a frustrating day out there today," Randolph said after his final round 72. "Still, it was a great week and I appreciate John Marovich (Tournament Director) and the committee of the True South Classic for giving me a chance to play this week. It was an unbelievable experience."
Randolph had plenty of support this week from family and friends and even had one of his former coaches--current Ole Miss assistant coach Jack O'Keefe--caddying for him.
Head coach Ernest Ross enjoyed following his former player on TV. "Everyone associated with Ole Miss and the state of Mississippi should be proud of Jonathan. He had a great week. It's always fun to test your game against the best players in the world. I know he would have liked to have had a better final round, but he still had a great week. I am really proud of him."
Even the Governor (Phil Bryant) made an appearance on The Golf Channel's coverage Sunday, and praised Randolph, who hails from the same hometown as Bryant.
It's the life Randolph always dreamed of when he was a standard bearer as a young teenager at the Mississippi PGA Tour event. Clarion-Ledger sports editor Rusty Hampton wrote about Randolph in Sunday's edition. Click here to read it.
This is the third year in a row Randolph will tee it up in this event after receiving a sponsor's exemption. He made the cut last year.
Randolph met with local media Tuesday after playing in the Junior Pro Am and talked about the competition.
"You know, I think it's a really solid field, not a whole lot of names that jump off the page at a lot of people but if you follow golf, you know everybody here. The guy who wins this tournament usually goes on and he's a great star. Billy Haas won the FedEx Cup a couple of years after he won this one. Some people think its diamonds in the rough, but there are a whole lot more diamonds out here than there is rough," Randolph stated.
Randolph, who set his name in the record books at Ole Miss, will tee off at 8:50 a.m. Thursday from the 10th tee. He plays with veterans Parker McLachlin and Tom Byrum.
Rowell lettered four years for the Rebels in the middle 90s, and had his best season in 1995, earning honorable mention All-America honors. He qualified for the NCAA East Regional and just missed making the NCAA Championships. Rowell, an All-SEC first-team selection, won one title and had seven top-five finishes that year while closing with a 72.52 stroke average. He followed up the '95 campaign with his second consecutive trip to the NCAA East Regional, concluding the season with five top-10 and seven top-20 finishes. Rowell earned All-SEC honors for the second year in a row after finishing as the runner-up at the SEC Championships.
In his final campaign, senior golfer Joe David hopes to put it all together for an All-American year and lead his team to the National Finals.
The Madison, Tenn., native had an excellent fall earning three top five finishes in five tournaments and ending the 2011 year with a fifth-place showing at the Patriot All-America Invitational. Here are a couple of stories out today on David.