Men's Golf Kicks Off Postseason Play Friday With Day One Of The SEC Championships

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Head coach Woody Cowart and the Rebels begin play in the 2004 SEC Golf Championships Friday morning.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Head coach Woody Cowart and the Rebels begin play in the 2004 SEC Golf Championships Friday morning.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

April 15, 2004

Follow this weekend's action by clicking on the following link:
2004 SEC Men's Golf Championships - LIVE SCORING

OXFORD, Miss. - The Ole Miss men's golf team begins postseason play this weekend at the 65th annual Southeastern Conference Championships in St. Simons Island, Ga. The three-day event is slated for Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Sea Island Golf Club, which features a par-70, 6,898-yard seaside course. The 12 schools will tee off at 8 a.m. each morning with the awards presentation ceremony to follow Sunday's third-and-final round at approximately 2 p.m.

The ever-so-challenging field includes five nationally-ranked squads and a total of eight teams in the Top-50 of the latest Sagarin/Golfweek.com rankings.

Florida will enter the tournament as the top-ranked team in the nation, while No. 4 Georgia, No. 12 South Carolina, No. 20 Arkansas and No. 24 Kentucky will also be in attendance for the 54-hole affair. No. 26 LSU, No. 30 Tennessee and No. 49 Vanderbilt round out the SEC schools in the Top-50, while Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss and Mississippi State enter as unranked foes looking to pull off an upset.

"We are excited about the opportunity to play at the absolutely beautiful Sea Island Golf Course," Ole Miss head coach Woody Cowart said. "This course is, by far, the best we have played on all season long. The weekend weather forecast is very nice and we are looking forward to three great days of golf.

"The competition at this tournament is second-to-none. We will get to see five nationally-ranked teams this weekend and I think that says a lot about the strength of SEC Golf. We have performed well against several of our conference opponents during the regular season. Now, we need another solid effort for a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament."

Ole Miss is coming off an eighth-place finish at the Billy Hitchcock Intercollegiate in Opelika, Ala. Prior to that, the Rebels had registered four straight top-five finishes -- second place at the UALR Lindsey Collegiate (March 29-30), fourth place at the Conrad Rehling Invitational (March 12-14), fourth place at the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate (March 8-9) and fifth place at the Seminole Intercollegiate (March 1-2).

Florida will look to defend its team title in this year's event. The Gators took home the hardware a season ago after posting a 292-293-271--856. In addition, UF's Brett Stegmaier was the tournament's individual medalist with rounds of 67, 72 and 64 for a total of 203 (-7).

The Rebels placed eighth (304-290-296--890) in the 12-team field a season ago. Jordan Dempsey (T-19th, 76-68-74--218, +8) and Lucas Boyd (T-29th, 77-70-76--223, +13) -- both of whom are redshirting this year -- were Ole Miss' top finishers in the 2003 tournament, while Pope Spruiell tied for 36th overall (75-78-72--225).

Ole Miss will be searching for its first league title since 1984 and its first individual medalist since 1988 when Lan Gooch earned the honor.

The Rebels have qualified for the NCAA Tournament twice -- in 1999 and 2001 -- under Cowart. A total of six individuals have qualified for the NCAA postseason affair with Jon Bartlett, in 2000, serving as the most recent occasion.

Live scoring (on the internet) will be available throughout the weekend. Simply log on to www.secsports.com or www.olemisssports.com and follow the links.

2004 SEC MEN'S GOLF TOURNAMENT FACTS AND FIGURES

* SETTING THE SCENE
Who?: No. 1 Florida, No. 4 Georgia, No. 12 South Carolina, No. 20 Arkansas,
No. 24 Kentucky, No. 26 LSU, No. 30 Tennessee, No. 49 Vanderbilt,
Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Missississippi State
What?: The 65th annual Southeastern Conference Men's Golf Championships
Where?: Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga.
When?: April 16-18, 2004 (18 holes each day)

On the Web: live scoring will be available throughout the weekend * Log on to www.secsports.com or follow the links at www.olemisssports.com

* THE CURRENT TEAM LEADERS (w/ 2003-04 stats)
Pope Spruiell (Sr.) -- 73.43 stroke average / season-low = 68 / top-20 finishes = 6
Kyle Ellis (Fr.) -- 74.23 stroke average / season-low = 69 / top-20 finishes = 6
Jarrod Gardner (Jr.) -- 75.04 stroke average / season-low = 70 / top-20 finishes = 3
David Shields (Jr.) -- 75.64 stroke average / season-low = 70 / top-20 finishes = 2
Adam Swope (Jr.) -- 75.64 stroke average / season-low = 73 / top-20 finishes = 0

* A LOOK BACK AT THE 2003 SEC TOURNAMENT
Team Champion: Florida (292-293-271--856, +16)
Individual Medalist: Brett Stegmaier, Florida (67-72-64--203, -7)
Ole Miss' Finish: 8th (304-290-296--890)

* OLE MISS AND THE LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Ole Miss' Last Team Championship: 1984 (297-293-291--881)
Ole Miss' Last Individual Medalist: Lan Gooch, 1988 (70-70-69--209)

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