OFORD, Miss. - The Ole Miss men's golf team will kick off its 2012-13 campaign this Monday, Sept. 10 at the Sam Hall Intercollegiate hosted by Southern Miss. The two-day tournament will take place at the Hattiesburg Country Club in Hattiesburg, Miss.
The Rebels will join a competitive 15-team field that includes Arkansas State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Monroe, McNeese State, Mississippi State, Rice, Sam Houston State, Samford, South Alabama, Southeastern Louisiana, Southern Miss and UTSA.
"You have to make birdies to win this tournament," said Ole Miss head coach Ernest Ross. "Even par won't do very well in this tournament. Last year we were leading after two rounds with 10-under, so we know that we're going to have to shoot under par.
"The team and coaches are ready to get going. This year's squad will have a different style from last years group. We don't have as much power as last year, but I believe we will be better in scoring skills."
With the loss of seniors Billy Brozovich and Joe David, the Rebels will field a younger team this season as Ole Miss' starting five in Hattiesburg will consist of one junior, two sophomores and two freshmen.
"It'll be a challenge," said Ross on the young squad. "You don't always know what to think when you have young guys that haven't been tested. They've played plenty of golf and had good summers and we expect a lot out of them. I certainly expect us to be a contender to win this week."
Returning for the Rebels are sophomores Blake Morris and Joe Lewis, as well as junior Tom Brown.
"Blake had a very good summer," said Ross. "He got close to winning a couple big ones and handled himself well at the U.S. Amateur."
Ross also holds high hopes for sophomore Joe Lewis, who will play number one for the Rebels in Hattiesburg this weekend.
"He was a little inconsistent this summer, but he has played real well lately," said Ross. "He has All-SEC talent, no doubt about it."
Brown, a native of England, spent the summer back home participating in amateur competitions.
"Tom played in the English Amateur where he made the cut for match play and the round of sixteen for the All-England amateur," said Ross. "He will help our depth this season."
Ross has been very impressed with the performance of the Rebels' five-member signing class, particularly the play of freshman Forrest Gamble of Birmingham, who won the Alabama State Junior title this summer.
"I have been really impressed with Forrest's game," said Ross. "We all knew he's a great student, but he had a great summer on the course. He finished fifth in the Western Junior and sixth in the Southern Junior. Both of those tournaments have premiere players from all across the country, so it was a great summer for him. I've been really impressed with his game, he shows a lot of maturity and has a real good golf IQ."
Fans can follow live scoring by going to OleMissSports.com and clicking on the link in the calendar. Follow the Rebels all season on twitter at @OleMissMGolf and on facebook at www.facebook.com/OleMissMGolf.