Thanks to, well (points to everything), rather than attempt a tournament-by-tournament breakdown of the abbreviated fall golf schedule, we are going with a full-rundown of the last month’s goings on for OUR GOLF SONS.
The three-stop, limited field events were by no means a full representation of what the team is capable of in the spring (hopefully), but it did give us some nice hints of what’s to come for the Golf Sharks.
Blessings Collegiate Invitational (Blessings Golf Club, Fayetteville, Ark.)
The first competitive golf tournament for the team in about nine months looked like, well, the first competitive golf tournament that a team, made up of mostly underclassmen, has played in about nine months.
It was a struggle to say the least and Blessings is not a golf course to just get your feet wet again on. This is the same golf course that beat down most collegiate golfers not named Matthew Wolff or Victor Hovland for a good week in 2019 during the NCAA Championships and it spared no quarter for our boys this fall.
In a field made up solely of SEC teams, the Rebs came in last.
The team was paced by Freshmen Brett Schell, who finished the week in a tie for 34th at +9. So, yeah, not great. That said, one tournament does not make a season, and I got the opportunity to walk round one with our boys and I can tell you that there are some extremely encouraging signs.
Schell chips in for birdie on 15 to tie the match!! pic.twitter.com/tEpWyfdhe1— Ole Miss Men’s Golf (@OleMissMGolf) September 11, 2020
I can tell you that Jackson Suber is hands down the best player on the team. The sophomore from Tampa, coming off a successful summer that included an appearance in the match play rounds of the US Amateur, has the full game.
He drives it well, he’s a very good ball striker, and exceptional around the greens. He burned a ton of edges in that first round and eventually those putts will start dropping as the season progresses.
I was also super impressed with Sarut Vongchaisit. “Root” has an elite short game. Some of the up-and-downs and par saves he executed when I was with him were something to behold. Brett Schell and Veeti Mahonen have all the tools. They are big, athletic, and can hit it a mile. As they grow into collegiate golf, I’d expect big things.
Finally, it was good to see Cecil Wegener back on the course. “Lil’ Precious”, the starting group’s lone senior, is coming off a medical redshirt year where he had double hip surgery. He was fighting his driver all round as I followed but more competitive play is only going to help him get back into contending shape again.
Legends Collegiate (Vanderbilt Legends Club, Franklin, Tenn.)
A much more typical result in the second tournament of the Fall.
The Rebs finished in the middle of the pack in 8th with a final score of -19. Vanderbilt, as expected, defended the home course and went away with a five-stroke win over second place Georgia.
The GOLF SONS were led by Sophomore Veeti Mahonen, who carded three straight rounds in the 60’s on his way to an 8th place individual finish at -9. Right behind Mahonen was Jackson’s own, Jack Gnam, who got his first start of the fall. Coach Malloy had expressed excitement over Gnam when we spoke in Fayetteville, and Gnam lived up to the billing with a T11 finish at -8.
The remaining Rebel loopers came in at an even par T40 for Brett Schell, a T46 (+1) for Jackson Suber, and a T59 (+3) for Sarut Vongchasit.
Jerry Pate National Invitational (Old Overton Club, Vestavia Hills, Ala.)
Business picked up in a big way when the Rebels headed east for the Jerry Pate. The team continued their improvement over the month as they finished the three days in Alabama with a final score of -6, good enough for a 5th place overall finish in the full SEC field.
The reason for such a high finish sat squarely on the shoulders of Jackson FREAKING Suber. He finished the week at the top of the individual leaderboard at -12(!). He actually tied for 1st but we don’t acknowledge any other golfers outside of our own, these are the rules.
It was his first collegiate tournament win. With that, he also tied an Ole Miss single tournament scoring record held by LORD BRADEN THORNBERRY by going sub-70 in all three rounds to tie THORNBERRY at a total of 198.
Most importantly, I’d like to thank Jackson for making me look like I know what I was talking about three paragraphs ago. Big things are coming for the Sophomore.
Overall, a promising month or so for the Swingin’ Landsharks.
The rust was aggressively beaten off in the first tournament in Fayetteville, but ended with an individual win and a top tier team finish. Who knows exactly how the spring is going to shake out. The schedule hasn’t been released yet and depending on the progress of COVID-19 and the availability of a vaccine, we could see more isolated, conference-only events in the spring.
Regardless of how the scheduling shakes out, OUR GOLF SONS, look primed for a strong run into the spring and hopefully the NCAA’s.