Sep 6, 2013
OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss women’s golf team officially kicks off the 2013-14 season this weekend at the 11th Annual College of Charleston Cougar Classic in Charleston, S.C.
The prestigious tournament runs Sunday-Tuesday (Sept. 8-10) at Yeamans Hall Club (Par 72-6,204) and features 15 teams that competed in the 2013 NCAA Championship. Joining the Rebels in the field are: Auburn, Baylor, Charleston Southern, Clemson, Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, Florida, Furman, LSU, Maryland, Mississippi State, Missouri, NC State, UNC-Greensboro, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wake Forest and Wisconsin.
The field also includes Florida (No. 10), NC State (No. 20), LSU (No. 22) and Baylor (No. 24) who enter the weekend ranked in the Golf World/WGCA Coaches’ Preseason Poll.
Head coach Michele Drinkard, entering her seventh season at Ole Miss, is very excited to get back on the golf course with her squad.
“I’m really ready to get back on the golf course and looking forward to seeing how we can get better each round,” said Drinkard. “The girls are ready to play. They are fired up to tee it up so we’re working on bringing their adrenaline back down to reality as we prepare for the weekend.”
Senior Kathryn Fowler will lead Ole Miss’ contingent which also includes juniors Stani Schiavone and Taelor Rubin as well as sophomores Abby Newton and Alison Hovatter.
“All five that are making this trip are improved from a year ago,” said Drinkard. “I coach because I like to see players smile and have success and this group certainly has potential to do that.”
“Stani Schiavone is coming back from a year of being injured and not playing her best,” said Drinkard. She hits a long ball and with a new driver, she’s hitting it even longer and she’s very excited about that. She’s striking her irons really well right now, where last year they weren’t as sharp. She’s ready to be back in action -- she’s an All-American in the waiting.”
“Abby Newton is coming back from her freshman year and now understands what college is about,” said Drinkard. She’s learned how to plan her time and she’s anxious to get going as well.”
“Kathryn Fowler, being our only senior is, very mature in her thinking,” said Drinkard. “We are so honored she received the Taylor Medal (the highest honor at the University) and it shows that you can be a scholar-athlete and play some great golf. She’s ready to do something special in her senior year and it’s already shown in her leadership in talking with the team about what to expect this season.”
The Rebels added an international player to the mix this season when they welcomed Norwegian national, Maria Toennessen to Oxford.
“What attracted me to Maria from the beginning when I saw her playing with her Norwegian national team is that she is a competitor, said Drinkard. “You can see it -- she will fight down to the last putt to better that golf course. She has no back off in her body whatsoever. She is really an athlete and it’s going to be exciting to watch her development over her career.”
A new season is often thought of as a fresh start and Drinkard believes that her team is in the perfect place as they open this season.
“The number one thing is that this team believes,” said Drinkard. “You have to have your beliefs and set your goals and then start chipping away at accomplishing them and this group really believes strongly. There is a different aura about each player; when they walk out onto the golf course now they are there to compete.”
The Rebels, who are making their seventh consecutive appearance at the Cougar Classic, finished tied for 14th in 2012 and were led by Ericka Schneider who finished in 43rd place. Newton and Hovatter finished in 59th place while Rubin closed in 78th a year ago.
Ole Miss is coming off a 2012-13 season in which they recorded four top-10 finishes and advanced to the NCAA Regionals for the fifth consecutive season.
Fans can follow live scoring of this weekend’s tournament at GolfStat.
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.
September 6, 2013
Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations