April 3, 2014
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OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss women’s golf team is gearing up for the sixth annual Rebel Intercollegiate (April 4-6) at the Ole Miss Golf Course this weekend. The Rebels will welcome 17 teams to Oxford for the three-day event, which will feature a College-AM on Thursday (April 3).
Ole Miss welcomes defending champion, Coastal Carolina, Colorado State, East Tennessee State, Furman, GRU Augusta, Harvard, Kennesaw State, No. 23 Kentucky, Memphis, Murray State, Notre Dame, Samford, South Florida, Southern Miss, Tennessee, Texas State and Tulane (RV) to the Ole Miss Golf Course this weekend. Colorado State, Notre Dame and Texas State will be making their first appearances at the tournament.
The Rebels have been playing well as of late and look to keep the momentum from their fifth-place finish at the Anuenue Spring Break Classic in Maui, Hawai’i last week as they search for their third consecutive top 5 finish and first tournament title this spring.
“Each tournament and each day, we’ve had really good improvements from the team as a whole, but also individually, said head coach Michele Drinkard. “We’re seeing some nice improvements from players and what I’d like to see for this tournament is if we can’t limit our distractions with a home tournament and to really step it up a notch.”
“We need to focus in on the details this week, just as if we were preparing to travel for an away tournament and really grind. For us, grind has two meanings. It means we need to play tough and pay attention to details, but it also means that every day is a new day. So for us GRIND stands for ‘Get Ready It’s A New Day.’ That’s been our motto this spring so that we can stay in the present moment and pay attention to our process and let the outcome come. The team is hitting its stride right now and I look for it to be a big weekend for us.”
Junior Stani Schiavone is coming of her second consecutive top-15 finish and seems to be consistently improving her game.
“Stani has had two good tournaments back-to-back,” said Drinkard. “Her ball striking has improved tremendously over the fall. She was a little tentative in the fall and she has improved her swing. Her short game is improving and she’s starting to make a lot of putts and that’s a plus at this time of the season. She’s had a lot of good numbers on this golf course and really plays this course well.”
Abby Newton, who currently leads the team in stroke average with a 74.70, posted a top-10 finish at the Clover Cup and is looking to keep that momentum heading into the weekend.
“Abby has also had a really good spring. She is striking the ball well and needs to focus in on her Par 3’s, specifically on scoring on her Par 3’s a little bit better while taking advantage of Par 5’s on this course,” said Drinkard. “She could also go really low. She’s the type of player that needs to hit small goals and we’ve focused in on the small things and breaking it down so that she can get competitive with herself and not worry too much about what’s going on elsewhere.”
Drinkard also talked about the play of Alison Hovatter and Taelor Rubin.
“Alison plays this golf course really well. She needs to get back focused on hitting greens and letting those birdie opportunities come when they will instead of trying to force them,” said Drinkard. “Taelor has shown moments of brilliance and just needs to focus on being more consistent.”
For lone freshman Maria Toennessen the Rebel Intercollegiate will be her first home tournament and her game is rounding into form at just the right time.
“Maria is starting to peak, although its not showing in her scores,” said Drinkard. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if she had a breakout tournament this weekend.”
In addition to the excitement around the Rebel Intercollegiate and Grove Bowl weekend here in Oxford, the Rebels will also be welcoming home some familiar faces as former players turned coaches, Rachel Ingram and Marci Kornegay will be bringing their teams to Oxford. Ingram (2006-09) is in her first year at Samford, while Kornegay (1998-01) is in her seventh season at South Florida.
“Rachel is really doing a great job at Samford in her first year as a head coach and I knew she would,” said Drinkard. “She’s has a great demeanor for working with kids and helping them improve. Samford is a lot like Ole Miss just smaller in size and she’s gone in and done a great job, having won two tournaments already. I couldn’t be prouder of what she’s doing.”
Kornegay, who played before Drinkard took the Ole Miss job, is also very excited to be bringing her team to Oxford this weekend.
“Right after I became head coach here at Ole Miss, at our coaches convention Marci (Kornegay) immediately asked me if I could recite the Hotty Toddy cheer. She has the Red and Blue deeply engrained, so much so, that she will be playing in our College AM instead of her players because she just wanted to be out on the golf course and she’s excited to be back.”
Not only will former players surround Drinkard, she’ll also have some of her college teammates coming to town this weekend. Tennessee head coach Judi Pavon was a freshman when Drinkard was a senior at Alabama, while Murray State head coach Velvet Milkman and Drinkard also played together.
“It’s always fun to have your extended family around,” said Drinkard. “Judi will be making her second trip to Oxford with her team and Velvet Milkman has come every year since I’ve been here. She and I are really close and it’s always good to see her.”
The Rebels will host a College-Am on Thursday April 3. For more information on the 2014 College Am contact, associate head coach Janell Howland (firstname.lastname@example.org) or 662-816-5011.
For all Ole Miss women’s golf news and information, go to OleMissSports.com, and follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissWGolf and on Facebook at Ole Miss WGolf.
2014 Rebel Intercollegiate Field
Coastal Carolina (Defending Champion)
East Tennessee State
No. 23 Kentucky