Low Opening Round Highlights Day One of Gary Koch Invitational
April 9, 2018


– On day one at the Gary Koch Invitational, No. 34 Ole Miss experienced the highs and lows that come with playing the game of golf. The Rebels conquered the Gaston Country Club in round one to hold a share of the lead before the 7,042-yard course exacted revenge Monday afternoon, bumping Ole Miss back to fourth after 36 holes of play.

The men’s golf team fired a 12-under 276 in the opening round, tying them at the top of the leaderboard with No. 11 Auburn. While three Rebels were under par through the first 18 holes, No. 1 ranked amateur Braden Thornberry (68-70—138) was the only Ole Miss golfer to post consecutive rounds in red figures. A 297 (+9) dropped Ole Miss to 3-under for the tournament, 24 shots behind the Tigers (276-273—549). No. 28 Kentucky sits in second (278-277—555), while No. 17 Florida State vaulted up the leaderboard into third (295-277—572).

Ole Miss found success on the par 5s, going 16-under on them throughout the two rounds (second in the field). Thornberry led the way, making birdie on seven of the eight par 5s he played to help him post a two-round total of 138 (68-70). At 6-under, Thornberry is tied for fourth and six strokes back of Auburn’s Trace Crowe (69-63—132). Redshirt-junior Josh Seiple (68-74—142) is 2-under par, while freshman Cecil Wegener (67-77—144) is even. Senior Kerry Sweeney posted the Rebels’ four-best score in each round, opening with a 73 (+1) followed by a 76 (+4).

The Rebels got off to fast start with three rounds in the 60s. Wegener led the way with a 5-under 67, tying the career low that he shot in the final round of the Hootie at Bulls Bay (March 27). The Ridgeland, Mississippi, native birdied his first three holes of the day before adding a pair of birdies to make the turn 5-under (31). Another birdie at the 385-yard 12th moved him to 6-under and in sole possession of the lead. Two bogeys along with his seventh birdie of the round led to an even-par back nine and just one shot off the pace.

Thornberry and Seiple were right behind Wegener with rounds of 68 (-4). Thornberry recorded six birdies, including a pair on Nos. 17 and 18, en route to his strong opening round. Meanwhile, Seiple rattled off four straight birdies to close out the front nine before holding steady on the back to remain at 4-under. Contributing to the strong start was Sweeney. The senior fought back from bogeys on four of his first six holes to sign for a 73 (+1).

After tallying 25 birdies as a team in round one, Ole Miss was bit by the bogey bug in the second 18 of the day. The Rebels finished the afternoon session 21 strokes higher than the morning round, falling from the top of the leaderboard but still in fourth and under par for the tournament. Thornberry posted a 2-under 70 with the help of dominating the par 5s once again, making birdie on three of them.  

The Ole Miss golfers will look to regain the form they found in round one while wrapping up play tomorrow morning. The Rebels will being the final round of the Gary Koch Invitational at 7:30 a.m. CT off the first tee.

Malloy’s Minute
“Today was definitely a tale of two completely different rounds of golf,” said head coach Chris Malloy. “We were very sharp and had a lot of positive momentum throughout our morning round. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to continue that momentum into the afternoon round. We will to get back, regroup and be ready to post a low round tomorrow.

Ole Miss Results
T4. Braden Thornberry 68-70—138 (-6)
T17. Josh Seiple 68-74—142 (-2)
T24. Cecil Wegener 67-77—144 (E)
T49. Kerry Sweeney 73-76—149 (+5)
T67. Brody Blackmon 77-78—155 (+11)

Team Standings (GolfStat rankings top 50)
1. #11 Auburn 276-273—549 (-27)
2. #28 Kentucky 278-277—555 (-21)
3. #17 Florida State 295-277—572 (-4)
4. #34 Ole Miss 276-297—573 (-3)
5. #45 Virginia 293-286—579 (+3)
6. Georgia Southern 298-284—582 (+6)
7. ULM 295-288—583 (+7)
8. Jacksonville 293-291—584 (+8)
9. Gardner-Webb 295-290—585 (+9)
10. Coastal Carolina 291-298—589 (+13)
T11. Western Carolina 303-291—594 (+18)
T11. Jacksonville State 304-290—594 (+18)
13. Lamar 305-298—603 (+27)

Remaining Tournament Schedule
Tuesday, April 10 (18 holes)
Tee Times 7:30 a.m. - 8:06 a.m. CT

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