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SMC GOLF: Saint Mary’s on mission to capture golf title

Kyle Cassily | Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Many say that the third time is the charm. The Saint Mary’s golf team, at least, hopes the superstition is true.

The Belles will enter their third straight NCAA Division III championship May 10-13 at the Pines Golf Club in Pinehurst, N.C. looking to secure the elusive national title.

The Pines was designed by Donald Ross, whose courses are known for their challenging pitches and chips.

“It is a great Donald Ross course that requires accurate drives and the high, soft approaches at which we are better than anyone,” Belles coach Mark Hamilton said.

In their past two appearances, the Belles finished eighth and fourth in 2004 and 2003 respectively.

Senior Stefanie Simmerman won the individual title in 2003 with a four-round score of 315. She followed that up with a 12th-place finish in 2004.

Currently Saint Mary’s is ranked third or fourth nationally, depending on which poll is checked. Top-ranked Methodist College enters the tournament the clear-cut favorite, a title the Belles will seek to dispose.

“There are some great teams in the NCAA Championships. DePauw is our regional rival, of course we are going to be gunning for them,” Simmerman said.

Other teams that could pose problems for the Belles will be the Mary-Hardin Baylor, Gustavus Adolphus, and Wartburg.

Team captain Chrissy Dunham and this year’s MIAA low medalist Julia Adams will look to join Simmerman atop the leader board and bring home the gold.

“I think it would definitely be a great way to close out my career,” Simmerman said when asked what a national championship would mean to her.

Team captain Chrissy Dunham echoed the same sentiment.

“Competing in nationals the last two years has been the best experience golf-wise,” Dunham said. “Making it that far and being able to compete with the best golfers in the country has been an amazing experience.

“I think if we all play to our potential we have a chance of winning nationals. We definitely are up there with the top teams and I think if we play like we all know we can, then we will be able to compete for [the national championship].”

Hopes abound between the three seniors and their teammates that the successful past three years will culminate with the title.

“These seniors put Saint Mary’s on the map as far as golf is concerned,” Hamilton said. “They are the ones responsible for the national prominence we have attained. A national title would be the ultimate capper to their great careers.”

Along with the performances of each individual, a key ingredient has been the teamwork exhibited between players, coach, and captain.

Julia Adams praised Dunham’s service to the team.

“She’s always there for you to talk to her,” Adams said. “She wants to know your opinion and if you have any concerns.”

Dunham said she felt the responsibility behind the position and did her best to promote team values.

“What an honor being captain has been for me,” Dunham said. “I think being a communicator and setting myself as an example of hard work is important. Being there to support my teammates not only with their golf games but in their personal lives as well has been a large part.”

Despite the past inability of the Belles to reach the top three in the NCAAs, none of them feel that it is in any way out of reach.

“I think we could potentially win it if we all work really hard and we play our best when we get there,” Adams said. “Our number one goal is to win. Anything can happen with golf.”