Rebels in First Place Through 36 Holes in Hawaii
Nov. 1, 2017
WAHIAWA, Hawaii – The Ole Miss women’s golf team holds a three-stroke lead through 36 holes of play at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational.
Three Rebels are in the top five with 18 holes remaining, led by freshman Julia Johnson in a tie for second place. Ole Miss shot under par collectively in both rounds of the 36-hole opening day, finishing 287-286--573 to cling to a three-stroke lead going into the third and final round at Leilehua Golf Course.
After the early charge, the gap narrowed on holes 12-14, the toughest three-hole span on the course. All five of the team’s counting golfers had a bogey during the stretch, but they recovered.
Ball played 1-under over her final nine holes to close out at 1-under (71). Johnson matched that with a birdie on her last hole, as the two freshmen tied for a team-low in Round 1. Hermansson birdied her last hole as well to wrap up a solid 1-over (73), but Purdom had the best finish of all, recording a birdie in two of her last three holes for even par.
As a team, the Rebels turned in a 1-under (278) opening round, at the time tying the second-lowest round shot by the team this season.
Just as it did in Round 1, Ole Miss finished strong. Johnson came out of the 14th hole with consecutive birdies to slide back under par. She was one of five Rebels to make birdie on the par-5 third hole, a key execution down the stretch by Kory Henkes and Drew Belt's squad.
That strong finish allowed the Rebels to finish at 2-under (286), their second-lowest round as a team this season. The starting five combined for 19 birdies in Round 2, tying a season-high. Out of the 12 rounds shot by Henkes' Rebels, eight were even par or under.
The Rebels will take a three-stroke lead into Round 3. Grand Canyon (E) tied a program-best, shooting 287 (-1) in the second round to keep the pressure on the Rebels.
Johnson Leads Three Rebels in Top 5
Just as she did in Johnson’s Magnolia Invitational win, Henkes helped her freshman find success. She played it safe through much of the opening round, offsetting two bogeys with three birdies to go 1-under.
Her second round brought a birdie early on before the troublesome trip to holes 12-14. Johnson carded bogeys on 12 and 14 to fall to 1-over par, but she generated some momentum even on the tough holes.
“On 13 I drained a 20-footer for par, and on 14 I got up-and-down out of a bunker for bogey, so that gave me a little momentum,” Johnson said. “I made a 30-footer on 15 for birdie, Coach Kory helped me read that putt and the next putt. That all got the momentum going in the right direction.”
She carried that momentum through the remainder of her round, playing 3-under over her final nine holes, showing her comfort with the course. The freshman felt the effects of her sinus infection late in the round, but amid a close match, she pushed through and delivered exactly the finish her team needed going into Round 3.
“I was getting really weak at the end of the round, those last 9-12 holes I really started to feel it,” Johnson said. “But that’s where you think in the back of your head, ‘The team needs a solid round coming in.’ I had to push through for the team.”
Johnson will enter the final day in a tie for second with Sacramento State sophomore Nishtha Madan, three strokes behind Memphis junior Sydney Colwill (-6).
Hermansson matched Johnson’s team-best 2-under second round. The sophomore from Djursholm, Sweden birdied her last hole of Round 1 to start an 11-hole run with five birdies and no bogeys to move to 4-under for the tournament. She picked up a few strokes down the stretch but will enter Round 3 in contention for her first career top-five.
Senior Katy Harris also played her way as low as 4-under during the second round. Competing as an individual, Harris was 2-over in the early going of Round 1 before picking up a birdie on the seventh hole to start an incredible hot streak. The St. Simons Island, Georgia native played 17 straight holes at 5-under—capped off by a string of three straight birdies. She was 4-under before tough outcomes on 13 and 14, but she ended her day with three straight pars to claim a spot in the top five going into the final day.
All Six Rebels in Top 20
The only two Rebels not in the top 10 aren’t far from it. Purdom birdied her opening hole in Round 1, as well as two of her last three to go even par through 18. She picked up a couple of bogeys early in Round 2 but worked birdies on the par-5 third and 11th holes for a solid 2-over (74) second round.
Coming off a Palmetto Intercollegiate victory, Lim had a bit of a championship hangover early, playing to 3-over through her first five holes. The junior from Suwanee, Georgia native fought back with three birdies to finish 4-over (76) in Round 1. She continued to battle, notching three birdies in her first eight holes of Round 2.
It was an odd day for the usually steady Lim, but the seven-time medalist persevered. On the 14th hole, a rock sat hidden just underneath Lim's ball and disrupted her bunker shot, leading to just her second double-bogey of the season. The NAIA All-American made it through, though, dropping a career-high six birdies for a wild even-par second round. Harris also collected six birdies in Round 2, the second-most shot by a Rebel this season.
Ole Miss is following a familiar formula for success. The Rebels are 10-under collectively on par 5s, while the next closest competitors, Memphis and Sacramento State, are 3-under on the long holes.
The five starting Rebels will tee off from the first through fourth holes, while Harris will start from the 16th, all
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