Rebel golf hosts tourney in Madison

The 20th-ranked Ole Miss men's golf team normally travels to play in tournaments. That's the case again this week with one major difference. The tournament they travel to they're hosting.

Monday and Tuesday the Rebels and 14 other teams are participating in the Bank of America Intercollegiate at The Reunion Golf and Country Club in Madison. Teams will play 36 holes beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday with 18 holes starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Ole Miss head coach Ernest Ross says he's excited about the event for a number of reasons.

"It's a chance for us to showcase our program in the area of our largest alumni and fan base," said Ross, who has many Jackson area connections himself having been pro at the Country Club of Jackson before returning for a second stint as head coach at Ole Miss. "It's a great golf course, and it will help us get ready for our next tournament, which is the SEC Tournament. And our players are looking forward to playing here, and they know they will have a lot of support."

Other teams in the 15-team field include Mississippi State, LSU, Vanderbilt, Southern Miss, Memphis, Jackson State, Southeastern Louisiana, UT-Chattanooga, and others.

The Reunion course, opened in 2002, will pose quite a challenge for the teams. It plays 7,305 yards at par 72, and Ross says the course is one his players enjoy playing.

"I love it because the greens are as good as any we'll play," he said. "It's a big hitters course with big fairways. Our players have enjoyed it when they've gotten to play it."

His players are also entering their tournament on quite a high. They won their last tournament in Georgia two weeks ago.

"We've been playing pretty well," Ross said. "We haven't had much chance to practice lately because of the weather. Last week I think we had one good day to get outside."

Ross will send out on the course Monday seniors Dave Marino and Kyle Ellis, junior Jesse Speirs, and freshmen Jonathan Randolph and Johnny Delprete.

Ross said he and his assistant coach, Jonathan Dismuke, and the players are excited about the opportunity to host their own tournament despite all it has taken to get ready.

"It's been a real challenge doing this for the first time and doing it 160 miles away from your campus," he said. "There are just so many details. But it's here and we're pleased to have everything in place. Now we just want to go out and play as well as we can."

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