Johnson helps lead Ole Miss to first SEC Title in history; NCAA Regionals await
Pine Prairie native Julia Johnson shined last week as she drove her way to the runner-up spot at the 2019 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Golf Championship hosted at Greystone Golf and Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama.
“I think this puts us on the map a little bit,” said Ole Miss head coach Kory Henkes. “I know we were the underdog coming in all week. We kept telling the girls to grind it out and stay patient, hit fairways and greens and make your pars. I’m so excited and so proud of this group. This is unbelievable.”
Along with her runner-up win, Johnson played a major role in claiming Ole Miss’s first SEC match play championship in school history.
After 70 SEC golfers completed three rounds of stroke play, Johnson found herself in a three way tie for second with an overall score of 214, or two under. She shot the following in her three rounds of play: 69, round one; 72, round two; and 73 in round three.
Johnson’s finish as runner-up is the best ever for an Ole Miss Rebel in conference tournament history and second best 54-hole score by a Rebel in conference tournament history.
Johnson shared the runner-up spot with competitors – Florida’s Marta Perez SanMartin and Arkansas’s Kaylee Benton, and finished four strokes behind the leader Maria Fassi from Arkansa.
Overall, Johnson also led the Ole Miss team in birdies with a total of 10.
After stroke play, the number eight-ranked Ole Miss took down number one-ranked Florida and number five-ranked Georgia in match play. This led Johnson and her fellow teammates to the final round where they faced off against number two ranked South Carolina.
Unlike in stroke play where the number of strokes is used to determine a winner, in match play the winner comes down to who wins the most holes.
Johnson faced off against South Carolina’s Marion Veysseyre last Sunday. Although she led the match majority of the way through, Veysseyre threatened Johnson’s win after she tied things up when she won hole 15 and 16.
A calm Johnson never wavered though, and won her final two holes, putting her team up in match play, 2-1.
After a hard fought battle between Ole Miss’s Conner Beth Ball and South Carolina’s Anita Uwadia, South Carolina tied things up 2-2 leaving Ole Miss’s fate resting on the shoulders of freshman Macy Somoskey.
After 22 holes played, Somoskey clinched the title for Ole Miss after Carolina’s Lois Kaye Go hit a shot in the water and then missed a need to make put during their second time playing hole 18.
Ole Miss will now travel to Norman, Oklahoma to take part in one of four NCAA Regional tournaments. The tournament will take place May 6-8 at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.
Ole Miss is ranked No. 9 in the regional, which consists of 16 total teams. The top six teams and top three individuals will make it to the NCAA Championship at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas, May 17-22.