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Focus on the short game

Joe Hettler | Friday, September 26, 2003

Saint Mary’s golf coach Mark Hamilton has been working with the Belles all week on their short game. This weekend, he’ll see firsthand whether the practice will pay off.

“We’ve been working on our short game all week, because we’ve hit the ball as well as anyone,” Hamilton said. “We’re going to work hard at the short game and have a good tournament.”

The Belles have played consistently well as a team throughout the fall season. The only major negative for the team has been their inability to finish ahead of rival Hope College. The Flying Dutch have ousted the Belles in all three tournaments they’ve played in together. They took second ahead of the fourth-place Belles at Knox College and beat the Belles for first in both Albion and at Saint Mary’s home meet.

Hamilton said Saint Mary’s needs to pick up some head-to-head wins against Hope before the national tournament arrives. The pairings and seedings in the national tournament are based partly on head-to-head competition. If the Belles can’t beat Hope, they could slip in the seedings.

“[The players] know they need to win,” Hamilton said. “We’ve talked about pressure this week and using it to our advantage because other teams know they have to continue shooting good scores to beat us.”

Hamilton also said he wants his players to put less pressure on themselves as just play each of their own games

“We need to put less pressure on ourselves. We are playing better at this point this year than last year,” he said.

Stefanie Simmerman and Julie Adams have been playing well of late for the Belles. Hamilton said Simmerman has been tweaking her swing and should be ready to peak soon. He also said that Adams has been very consistent for the team.

The Belles have almost two weeks after this weekend to tune up for the MIAA Championship at Olivet Oct. 10 and 11.