Ole Miss Women's Golf Returns to Furman for Lady Paladin
Sept. 21, 2017

GREENVILLE, S.C. – It was the Tuesday after the Ole Miss women’s golf team dropped from first place to a tie for fifth in a windy final round at the vaunted Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Freshman Conner Beth Ball sat at a table in the back of Bouré, awaiting her time on RebTalk, rattling off some text messages to the Team 32 group chat.

Ball and the Rebels were making sure they had all finished charting their rounds from the last tournament. In the next seat to her, assistant coach Drew Belt offered a kind reminder that, if they didn’t chart their rounds, they’d pay for it in extra running at the following morning’s 6:30 a.m. workout.

Of course, the team was about as eager to run as it was to re-live each shot—the good, the bad and the ugly—from that last round at the most difficult course in the United States. But if nothing else, it made for some good motivation.

“The girls were all a little upset at how they finished the final round at Kiawah,” said head coach Kory Henkes. “They were hungry to get out on the golf course and practice. We really zeroed in on everyone’s weaknesses and practiced a ton of short game this week. I think it was a great week of practice, and once again we’re looking forward to putting that practice into competition.”

Palmetto State of Mind
After some focused practice at home in Oxford, Ole Miss has returned less than two hours from Henkes’ hometown, Columbia, South Carolina, for the Lady Paladin Invitational at Furman University Golf Club. The Rebel head coach is looking forward to what will be the second of three tournaments in The Palmetto State this fall.


 

 

“I grew up around the Greenville area. I’ve been to Furman many, many times,” Henkes said. “I’m really looking forward to getting back home and showing the girls around the course.”

In addition to Henkes’ expertise, two Rebels have already played in this very event. Junior Kie Purdom and sophomore Pi-Lillebi Hermansson contributed to the team’s seventh-place finish at Furman a year ago. Hermansson and Purdom will be looking to improve upon last year’s finish. On the 2016 trip, Purdom set her career-low for 18 holes at 73—a mark she broke in a brilliant Round 3 at The Ocean Course Invitational.

“It always helps when you’ve played a course before, that way you’re familiar with the layout and you’ve got your yardage book from previous years,” Henkes said. “When you have that, you’ll know your way around the course a little bit better. It makes the practice round easier as well. They can help their teammates with the right places to hit shots and the places you want to miss shots.”

Diane’s Debut
Ball and Julia Johnson were strong in their Ole Miss debuts at The Ocean Course, finishing tied for third and 22nd, respectively. Another new Rebel, junior Diane Lim, will make her debut in red and blue.

A transfer from Coastal Georgia, Lim will be able to let it rip, competing as an individual in her first event. She amassed six wins as an NAIA All-American before coming to Oxford, and since her score won’t count toward the team’s standing in the tournament, she can go all out for her seventh collegiate win.

“Diane’s been doing great. She works really hard each and every day and brings a great attitude to practice,” Henkes said. “The strength of her game is her short game. The girls call her the wedge wizard because she’s such a great wedge player. I was really excited to let her get her feet wet in competition and just have some fun out there. I think she’ll do really well.”

Lim will be in the final group off from the 10th hole Friday at 10:15 a.m. CT.

Rebel on the Rise
Ball enters the second tournament season at No. 89 in the Golfstat Cup Rankings. The Madison, Mississippi native made it through The Ocean Course at a 71.67 average per 18 holes, so it stands to reason that standing could improve after this weekend.

Furman, a par 72 at 6,278 yards, sets up similar to the Rebels’ home course, which could provide them an advantage.

“The course is very similar to the Ole Miss golf course,” Henkes said. “We’ve had a lot of great practice on our home course recently, so we think that’ll help us have a great tournament this week.”

Round 1 Rivalries
Two freshmen in Ball and Johnson topped the Ole Miss lineup. Johnson, a St. Gabriel, Louisiana native, drew a pairing with her close friend, LSU freshman Mary Frances Chauvin (Hammond, Louisiana). Ball will play 18 with fellow Mississippi native Kathleen Gallagher (Greenwood, Mississippi), all of which will make for an intriguing Ole Miss-LSU rivalry matchup in Round 1.

Ole Miss will be in the first group off along with host Furman, which came in at No. 7 in Golfweek’s preseason rankings. The Rebels, Paladins and Tigers will tee off from the first hole starting at 8 a.m. CT.

Live Stats | Pairings | Live Tweeting

The Rebels
1. Conner Beth Ball, Freshman
2. Julia Johnson, Freshman
3. Pi-Lillebi Hermansson, Sophomore
4. Kie Purdom, Junior
5. Martina Flori, Junior
Ind. Diane Lim, Junior

The Field
Augusta
Chattanooga
Daytona State
East Tennessee State
Furman (Host)
Georgia Southern
Georgia State
James Madison
Kennesaw State
LSU
Memphis
Middle Tennessee
Ole Miss
Southern Miss
UNC Wilmington
Virginia Tech
Western Carolina

Tournament Vitals
Lady Paladin Invitational
Greenville, South Carolina
Furman University Golf Club
Par 72 (6,278 yards)
Three rounds, 54 holes

For all Ole Miss women’s golf news and information, go to OleMissSports.com, and follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissWGolf and Facebook at Ole Miss Women’s Golf.

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