Lim, Rebels Sweep Palmetto Intercollegiate Titles
Oct. 24, 2017
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – The Palmetto Intercollegiate brought the highs and the lows that are associated with a team as young as Ole Miss. But junior Diane Lim was the consistent force the Rebels needed to sweep the team and individual titles at Turtle Point Golf Course.
Ole Miss claimed the lead through Round 1 before gusting winds and heavy rains caused the Rebels to slip to second through 36 holes. Led by Lim’s tournament-best 68-74-71--213 (-3), Ole Miss went low once again in Round 3, finishing at 290-301-292--883 to hold off Kennesaw State by eight strokes.
Team 32 made history once again, becoming the first Rebel squad ever to complete a tournament sweep in back-to-back events. Kory Henkes and Drew Belt’s team is the first in program history to win two 54-hole tournaments in one season.
“I am just so proud of all the hard work Coach Belt and the team have put into everything they do this year,” Henkes said. “It was great to see the team bounce back after a tough finish in Round 2. They showed a lot of grit out there today and proved that they came to play.”
The Wedge Wizard Wins
“This win wasn’t like any of my previous ones,” Lim said. “The scale of winning with Ole Miss doesn’t compare with anything I’ve experienced before. It just felt great to be out there with the girls and get the job done.”
The Suwanee, Georgia, native got the job done when it mattered. She opened her tournament with a personal-best 4-under (68). The junior then endured the elements in Round 2, finishing at 2-over to remain in a tie for first place.
Lim faltered a bit in the early going in Round 3, feeling the nerves of her first battle for a win as an SEC golfer. But after bogeys on the first and fourth holes, she settled in.
“I was pretty nervous at the beginning of this last round and it showed,” Lim said. “I bogeyed No. 1 and No. 4, and I knew I really needed to turn it around if I wanted a chance.”
She did just that, earning her nickname with excellent approach shots to set up short birdie putts on the fifth, sixth and 10th holes. She played her final 14 holes at 3-under to finish the tournament at 3-under—and she needed every stroke. Xavier sophomore Mikayla Fitzpatrick, last year’s Big East Freshman of the Year, birdied three of her last five holes to finish at 2-under.
Par 5 Performances Set Stage for Victory
The fifth hole was a microcosm of the tournament for Ole Miss. There were highs (eagles by Julia Johnson and Pi-Lillebi Hermansson) and lows (bogeys by Conner Beth Ball and Johnson and a double-bogey by Lim). But in Round 3, Johnson, Lim, Ball and junior Kie Purdom all birdied to give the Rebels the lead.
“It’s always great to see birdies on par 5s,” Henkes said. “Our team has length as one of its strengths, so we have to capitalize when we can.”
The Rebels dominated par-5 scoring, coming in at 8-under for the tournament. The next closest teams were four strokes back at 4-under.
Johnson Continues Hot Streak
She was in second place after 18 holes, two strokes behind Lim, but a double-bogey amid a rainstorm on her last hole of Round 2 knocked her out of the top five. She bounced back in Round 3 with three birdies, including one her last hole to move her to a tie for fourth.
“Julia has proven once again that she is a competitor,” Henkes said. “She struggled during Round 2, so it was huge for her to pull through with a score of even par today. It is nice to have her consistency and fierce attitude in our lineup week in and week out.”
Team 32 Trending Upward
Lim’s victory is the 22nd individual title in team history. Her score of 213 comes as a personal best at Ole Miss and is the fifth-lowest score in a tournament win in program history and is tied for the sixth-lowest 54-hole score shot by a Rebel.
“As a coaching staff we have put a lot of effort into the culture and expectations of this team, so it is rewarding to see positive results coming from everyone buying into our program,” Henkes said. “I know we are headed in the right direction and look forward to competing for more titles in the future. We are going to enjoy this win for a day or two and then get back to the work as we prepare for our final fall tournament in Hawaii.”
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