After a hard-fought battle, the Ole Miss men’s golf team finished sixth in the NCAA Stanford Regional, just missing the cut for a trip to the national championship.
The Rebels were in a tough fight during the third round on Wednesday, trading fifth place back and forth with LSU the whole day, but fell behind in the final holes to get pushed out of the top 5. Their 3-over 843 over the week had them just one stroke behind the Tigers.
Despite a great weekend, freshman Sarut Vongchaisit shot a nine on the par-5 7th hole in the final round after his tee shot disappeared from the fairway causing a one stroke penalty. One shot after that in a literal stroke of bad luck, Vongchaisit’s shot reportedly hit a bird mid-flight, killing the bird and the Rebels’ shot at advancing.
“This was a hard pill to swallow,” head coach Chirs Malloy said after the Rebels were eliminated. “We came in not really knowing what to expect. We have three freshmen and a sophomore in the lineup who played extremely well the first two days. We just couldn’t really piece it together today and didn’t have an ideal finish.”
The Rebels’ underclassmen were able to put together a few impressive rounds on the first two days of the tournament, which put Ole Miss in contention to advance.
Vongchaisit was called into the lineup after an injury to senior Beau Briggs. Vongchaisit answered the call and delivered in his first postseason action with the lowest single-round score at a regional in Ole Miss history. His career-best 66 had him in tied for second individually.
“I felt really confident on the first tee and after making birdie on that first hole, I knew it was going to be a good day for me,” Vongchaisit said.
With Vongchaisit leading the pack, Ole Miss came in tied for fifth with a 2-over 282 after one round in Stanford. Jack Gnam and Cecil Wegener were tied for 25th.
The Rebels shot the lowest team score in program history with a 5-under 245 in the second round. Vongchaisit kept his tie for first shooting a 69 and Wegener rose up to a tie for 16th with a 68. Jackson Suber also shot a 68 to get a tie for 29th individually.
The squad held fifth place going into the final round on Wednesday and found themselves going up and down the leaderboard all day until a rally from LSU kicked the Rebels below the cutline.
Vongchaisit shot a nine on the par-5 7th hole after his tee shot disappeared from the fairway causing a one stroke penalty. One shot after that in a literal stroke of bad luck, Vongchaisit’s shot hit a bird mid-flight, killing the bird and the Rebels’ shot at advancing.
The freshman substitute fell 19 spots to a tie for 21st after shooting a 77 in the final round, but Suber rose 17 spots for a tie for 12th individually. Jack Gnam shot 70 for the second consecutive round to finish tied for 17th. Wegener tied for 27th and senior Josh Seiple struggled, finishing 14 over-par.
Ole Miss finished sixth as a team in the NCAA Stanford Regional, three spots ahead of where they were originally seeded.
Although the close finish left the Rebels out of the NCAA Championship, Malloy has confidence they can build off of this season with a young core.
“It doesn’t feel real good right now, but I know this will help them going forward. Those freshmen have three more of these to look forward to,” he said. “They’ll be back in this situation again.”