The Ole Miss women’s golf team started their spring season with a victory at the Moon Golf Invitational in Melbourne, Florida.
The No. 12 Rebels got their fourth first-place trophy of the year by beating out seven other opponents with a 6-under par 858 in the tournament, breaking the program’s record for first-place wins in a single season.
“Today was a great day for our program,” head coach Kory Henkes said. “We played solid golf from start to finish, and to top it off with a win is a great confidence booster for our team as we kick off the spring season.”
Ole Miss boasts one of the most experienced groups in the country with most of the roster back from their SEC title-winning performance last year, but this time it was a freshman who led the way for the Rebels.
Chiara Tamburlini tied her career low with 69 in the final round of the tournament and finished tied for third, earning her second top-3 finish of her Ole Miss career. Tamburlini tied for second individually at the Battle at the Beach in Mexico last semester.
The freshman from Switzerland accounted for 12 of Ole Miss’ 46 birdies, three of which were crucial at No. 7, 8 and 9 in the final round to fend off No. 50 Augusta University squad. Tamburlini had scores of 70, 72 and 69 in the three rounds to lead the Rebels in her third collegiate appearance.
Kennedy Swann and Julia Johnson tied for 14th in the tournament with a 1-over par 217 in the tournament. Swann tied Tamburlini for the most Ole Miss birdies, with the two golfers having 12 each.
Freshman Andrea Lignell shot a 2-over 218 to tie for 21st, and sophomore Ellen Hutchinson-Kay shot a 70 in the final round on Tuesday after struggling in the second to finish tied for 41st.
The Rebels haven’t finished below of the top-3 in a tournament since the NCAA Championships last season and will head to Augusta on March 14 to compete in the Valspar Augusta Invitational at the Forest Hills Golf Club.
Ole Miss’s ranking will likely climb into the top-10, as the Rebels are one of only two teams with four team victories this season, along with Kent State.
The men’s golf team was also in action, finishing sixth in the Puerto Rico Classic to start the spring season. Sophomore Sarut Vongchaisit was the top Rebel on the leaderboard; he tied for 21st with a 3-under 213 at the Rio Mar Country Club.
“It was a good three days overall,” men’s head coach Chris Malloy said. “Our goal was to win this week. We certainly didn’t do that, but with it being the first tournament of the spring season, we have plenty of positives to build on. We talk a lot as a group about winning championships and being as good as we can be, and we have a long way to go to do that. Certainly, I do think this is a step in the right direction. (The) guys hopefully got a little bit of confidence as we get into more tournament play.”
They will travel to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for the Cabo Collegiate starting March 1.