Red Cup Rebellion is a golf blog now…at least it will be for the duration this spring as writer-crawlt-out-of-whatever-rock-he-was-under Bunkie Perkins loops for the Ole Miss Golf Team during their Spring 2018 season. This feature will preview the tournament, the courses, the Ole Miss golfers, and the field each week, but more in-damn-portantly, this feature will chronicle the exploits of Ole Miss’ REGINING, DEFENDING, NCDOUBLEA INDIVIDUAL LARGE ADULT GOLFING CHAMPION AND BY GAWD NUMBER ONE COLLEGE GOLFER IN THE SEVEN KINGDOMS... BRADEN THORNBERRY, FROM CLUBHOUSE OXFORD, FIRST OF HIS NAME, KING OF THE 19th HOLE AND THE FIRST TEE, MAKER OF BIRDIES, THE BREAKER OF PARS, THE RULER AND PROTECTOR OF AN EXPEDITED PACE OF PLAY…LONG MAY HE DRIVE.
The last time we saw our heroes: It was all on the line in College Station last week as the Ole Miss Golfing Rebels entered the final round of play in the NCAA Regional competition. After the first two days the Rebels sat in 5th place. Holding that position through Day 3 would advance the team to the NCAA Championship in Stillwater. Strong second round performances by LORD THORNBIRDIES and Beau Briggs had the Rebs at +3 entering the final day, 8 shots clear of 6th place South Carolina. All the squad needed to do was hold it together through the final 18 holes. Fighting off some early bogeys, the team rallied to find itself right in the hunt for the 5th place spot, and thanks to a few late birdies coming down the stretch, advancing looked like an almost certainty…until it wasn’t.
The swings of qualifying momentum for the final 5th spot were wild to say the least. The Ole Miss team started on the much more difficult back 9 at the Traditions course. A +3 effort on the first 9, combined with a wild come-from-behind 10 under start by UNC-Wilmington, at one point, pushed the Rebs down the board to 6th place. As the Rebs made the turn, a birdie string by THORNBERRY, and a subsequent return to reality by UNC-Wilmington, got the Rebels back into the fifth spot.
The Rebels saw that lead grow to 5 at one point on their final 9 with only a few holes left to play. Kerry Sweeny, one of the early team finishers, came in at +6 and seemingly set the scoring baseline for the Rebels. Cecil Wegener came in next with a great bounce-back round of 2 under. That left THE LORD OF THE SEVEN PINGDOMS and Beau Briggs out on the course to bring it home for Ole Miss. Briggs was +2 coming in to the final two holes and even a modest finish would likely seal advancement to the Championship. Briggs has been a model of consistency for the team over the closing months and has emerged as a dependable scorer to supplement the runs THORNBERRY and Wegener have been on. He had carded rounds of 75 and 69 in the first two days to sit at Even for the tournament entering the final day. Unfortunately for Briggs and the team, that streak of consistency was broken in a rather large way on those final two holes.
Let’s not get into the gory details and instead just say that after those final holes the Rebels went from 5 up to one down to surging Kentucky. THORNBERRY followed Briggs in and carded a -2 for the day. Kentucky was left with 6 holes to play and the lead. Any hopes of a miracle for Ole Miss were dashed when Kentucky’s Chip McDaniel (A DAMN GOLFER NAMED CHIP!) holed out on his final hole to card an eagle and push the Kentucky lead to 3 shots. The Rebels finished 6th at +13 and one position out of the Championship round. A disappointing finish to an otherwise very good Spring Season.
As disappointing as that finish was, it wasn’t a total loss as the ROYAL TEDDING’s final round 70 pushed him into a 4th place individually. With the 3 golfers ahead of him already qualifying through the team competition, it came down to THORNBERRY and McNeese State’s Blake Elliot for a spot in the Individual NCAA Championship. Elliot, a late finisher, was tied with THORNBERRY at -9 with 3 holes to play. With the way that things were going for the Golfing Rebs, it almost seemed like a foregone conclusion that some unheard-of golfer from Lake Charles would end up spoiling OUR KING’s quest to defend his Championship.
But fate, pressure, and the will of the Golf Gods intervened and saw to it to bestow one last blessing upon our man as Elliot bogeyed his 16th and came in at +1 over the final three holes, completing his round one behind TEDDY GOLFGAME. The finish gets THORNBERRY back into the Championship to defend his championship and his team’s golfing honor.
Golfweek Rankings: Team: 31st, Individual: BRADEN VON BIRDIES : 7th
This Week’s Tournament: NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
The Course: Karsten Creek, Stillwater, OK. The Fazio design is the crown jewel of college golf. The home course of Oklahoma State is the premier collegiate golf facility in the country.
The Ole Miss Team:
SOON TO BE BACK TO BACK NCAA CHAMPION BRADEN THORNBERRY (Jr, Olive Branch, MS): LORD THORNBERRY is going lone wolf this week in Stillwater. He’s the #1 amateur player in the world. He’s the (/clears throat for Paul Heyman impression) REGNING, DEFENDING, UNDISPUTED NC DOUBLE A CHAMPION. He’s also getting absolutely hosed for the national collegiate golfer awards. He was a finalist for the Ben Hogan Award, given to the nation’s best college golfer. That award was given to Doug Ghim of Texas. He wasn’t even listed as a finalist for the Haskins Award, but don’t worry, THE TEEBERRY is keeping receipts. You have all angered our LORD. Judgement shall be swift and forthcoming.
Top individuals who are playing for second behind: I mean, just go to the GolfWeek individual rankings. It’s pretty much everybody. Winner take all.
Final Monday round will be on the Golf Channel at 4pm CST.
Coverage Note: I will be at the NCAA Championships as one of the many loyal subjects following LORD THORNBERRY. I’ll likely be at either the Saturday or Monday rounds, or both. Ill be tweeting out updates and gratuitous photos of our guy at @bunkieperkins on the Twitter machine.