Ross presents awards to Ole Miss golfers

Ernest Ross said great years don't come easy. And that's the type year the Ole Miss men's golf team is having.

"We were ranked 60th early in the season," Ross told those gathered at the men's golf banquet in the IPF on Thursday night. "Last week we were ranked 33rd. And this season's not over yet."

Fresh off a fourth-place finish in the 12-team Southeastern Conference Tournament, the program's highest finish in that event since 1988, Ole Miss awaits an announcement at 5 p.m. Monday concerning where it will play in the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels know they are in the field for the first time in six years. They just don't know where they'll tee it up on May 17.

It could be Atlanta. It could be Chicago or Phoenix. Doesn't matter to the team. What does matter is that they'll play together again.

"I'm really proud of them," said Ross, who is in his third year back at Ole Miss, having played here in the early 1970s and coached the Rebels from 1979-87. "These guys have already achieved a lot. They have a very strong work ethic. They push each other and work well together. It's been a special year."

Ross credits first-year assistant coach Jonathan Dismuke, a player at Auburn from 2001-04 and a native of nearby Calhoun County, with having a positive effect on the squad.

"He's an incredibly good teacher, and he works great with the players," Ross said. "He's been a terrific addition to our program this year."

Dismuke said he has been pleased with the progress of the players.

"I can't get over how much improvement we've made," Dismuke said. "The seniors hadn't experienced a lot of success as a team, finishing 12th and 12th the past two years at the SEC Tournament. This year they led that tournament after the first round, in first place in the toughest golf conference in the nation. They were paired with the No. 1 team in the country, Georgia, on day one and beat them. On day three, they were paired with them again and put more distance between themselves and Georgia. It's been a special team."

There are nine golfers currently on the roster. They are seniors Callum Macaulay (All-SEC second team), Chris Rogers, and Brice Bailey. Kyle Ellis would have been a senior this year but redshirted and will return for his senior season next year.

David Marino, Will Roebuck, Clark Brewer, Stefan Strandlund, and Hugh Muse are underclassmen.

The awards and their recipients at the banquet were as follows:

Academic Award: Hugh Muse, with a 4.0 GPA in mechanical engineering

Team Spirit Award: David Marino

Dedication Award: Brice Bailey

Most Improved Player: Will Roebuck

Randy Watkins Courage Award, named for the former Rebel golfer and longtime professional in metro Jackson: Chris Rogers

Most Valuable Player: Callum Macaulay

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