The Lady Bulldogs have posted eight consecutive Top 10 finishes this season, only one shy of the program-record nine consecutive set during the 1999-2000 season. MSU made its first postseason appearance in the East Regional that season.
State is making its fifth-consecutive appearance in the Ole Miss-hosted event with its best finish coming last season when MSU posted a 902 to earn a sixth-place finish.
So far this season, the Lady Bulldogs own a 301.25 average scoring clip, which is on pace to break the school’s all-time mark by over four strokes.
“It is exciting see the progress these girls have made not only this season but over the last few seasons,” third-year MSU head coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. “To know that we have the opportunity to do something no other team or only one other team has done at this school is special. With that in mind, we still have a lot to improve on because we are not where we need to be or want to be to compete in this conference.”
Leading the way in the MSU lineup will be standout sophomore Ally McDonald. Her 72.71 scoring average ranks fifth in the Southeastern Conference and is on pace to set State’s all-time mark by nearly two strokes. The Fulton, Miss., native has posted a Top 20 finish in all eight events this season and five Top 5’s. During last season’s event in Oxford, McDonald carded a 3-over-par 219 en route to a share of sixth-place.
Gabi Oubre’ aims to continue her recent hot streak at Ole Miss with her 76.54 scoring average, which ranks in the Top 15 among SEC freshmen. The Mobile, Ala., native has posted back-to-back Top 25 cards, the first two of her young career.
Sophomore Elena Warren is also in the midst of one of the best semesters of her career. Three of her five lowest tournament scores have come this spring. One of those five however came during last season’s Rebel Intercollegiate when she posted a 14-over-par 230.
Fellow sophomore Rica Tse has struggled as of late but is primed for a strong performance back in the Magnolia State. During the 2012 event, the New Zealand-native posted a 12-over-par 228 to narrowly miss the Top 25.
Mary Langdon Gallagher is perhaps the most familiar with the Ole Miss Golf Course. The junior has appeared on the course twice as a collegiate player and numerous more times during her amateur career.
She posted a 2-over-par 74 and a 1-over-par 73 in the first and second rounds, respectively, last season.
“We have a good bit of experience on this course that should help us,” Brown-Lemm said. “Ally and Mary Langdon played this course before coming here. Elena and Rica both saw it last year so Gabi will be the only who is new to the course. Coach Phillips has also played here many times as well. With the way we are playing right now and our knowledge of this course, I think we are set up for a very strong finish.”
The Lady Bulldogs will challenge a host of ranked teams including No. 20 Tulane, No. 24 Baylor, No. 29 LSU, No. 34 Kentucky and No. 49 Coastal Carolina. Other teams in the field include East Tennessee State, Furman, Harvard, Memphis, Minnesota, Missouri, Murray State, Ole Miss, Redlands Community College, Southern Miss, Troy and Tulsa.
“The field is stronger than in traditionally is for this event but we can compete with every team here,” Brown-Lemm said. “Baylor and Tulane are strong teams and then to have three SEC teams in Kentucky, LSU and Ole Miss just makes it that much stronger.”
The M&F Bank Rebel Intercollegiate tees off Friday with at 9:51 a.m. CST. The Lady Bulldogs are slated to tee off on hole No. 1 beginning at 9:30 a.m. alongside SEC-foe Missouri and Minnesota.
Live stats and post-round results will be available through Hailstate.com and admission to the event is free.
Following the trip to Oxford, the Lady Bulldogs will turn their focus to the SEC Championship on Friday, April 19, hosted at Greystone Country Club in Birmingham, Ala.