This year's college golf postseason has just begun and it already has a new hero
Petre Thomas/Ole Miss Athletics
One of the beauties of college golf’s postseason as it began in earnest this past week is its ability to allow unknown players to rise to the competitive challenge and perform, and the 2018-’19 version got its first glimpse of an impressive out-of-nowhere story last weekend in the form of Macy Somoskey.
The 19-year-old from Sanford, Fla., is a freshman at the University of Mississippi. In seven starts this season, she had a 76.13 stroke average with her best individual finish being a T-28. But come this past weekend’s SEC Women’s Championship at Greystone Golf & Country Club outside Birmingham, Ala., Somoskey turned into a world beater.
During stroke-play qualifying, Somoskey posted a modest T-57 with a 15-over 231 score, third best on her team. In the process, the Lady Rebels, ranked No. 35 by Golfstat entering the championship, clinched the eighth and final match-play spot. Their reward was a quarterfinal clash on Saturday with top-seeded Florida, the No. 12 ranked team in the country. The two schools had split their opening four matches, with the final outcome resting on Somoskey’s match with UF standout Marta Perez, who finished second in stroke-play qualifying with a two-under 214 score and was T-20 at the recent Augusta National Women’s Amateur. The match went extra holes, but Somoskey prevailed with a birdie on the 19th hole to give Ole Miss the upset victory.
Next, the Rebels then faced Georgia in the semifinals on Saturday afternoon. Three of the five matches finished, but bad weather pushed the remaining two, including Somoskey’s match against Rinko Mitsunaga, into Sunday morning. Like Perez, Mitsunaga, a former winner of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball) had more experience than Somoskey. But in 21 holes, Somoskey prevailed again as the Rebels’ clinching point.
As Ole Miss advanced to Sunday’s championship round against South Carolina, the No. 11 ranked team in the country, Somoskey played the pivotal role once more. And naturally, her deciding match against Lois Kaye Go (the No. 25 ranked college player according to Golfstat) couldn’t just end in regulation, although it probably should have—and with Somoskey finally falling. She was 2 down with four holes to play, but won the 15th hole then made this clutch 40-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to extend the match.
The pair tied the next three holes with pars when Somoskey caught a break on the 22nd hole (a return to the par-5 18th) when Go went for the green in two and found the water. A par from Somoskey sealed another late win and gave Ole Miss its first SEC team title in school history.
“I don’t even know where to begin. Think it was just taking it one step at a time out there,” Somoskey said. “First step was getting to match play. We grinded it out against Florida yesterday and Georgia this morning. We got the job done against South Carolina, and it’s just unbelievable.”
Unbelievable indeed. If she was on the Ole Miss football team and performed these kind of heroics, she wouldn’t have to pay for a drink for the rest of her life in Oxford. Instead, she can take great solace in knowing her three matches over 62 holes give her a permanent place in school history.