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SMC GOLF: Belles hit the road, head to Normal for two-day tournament

Anna Fricano | Friday, September 16, 2005

After a strong showing in their first MIAA appearance of the season on Wednesday night, the Saint Mary’s golf team will take a break from conference opponents and take to the road this weekend to compete in the Illinois Wesleyan University Invitational.

The Belles will depart for Normal, Ill. with six golfers today for the two-day tournament, which will conclude tomorrow afternoon.

Prior to Wednesday’s conference competition, Saint Mary’s had competed in a pair of difficult matches.

The season kicked off with an appearance at the Ferris State Invitational, where the Belles were pitted against a combination of Division-I, II and III teams.

Shortly after that, the team accepted an invitation to compete in the Notre Dame Invitational, where it faced an entire group of Division-I schools.

All of the effort that they put into performing well at those two meets seems to have paid off for the Belles. On Wednesday night, Saint Mary’s finished 17 strokes ahead of second place finishers Olivet, the same team who defeated the Belles less than two weeks ago at the Bulldog Invitational. Their team score of 332 was enough to not only set a course record at the Thornapple Pointe Golf Club, but also to once again put Saint Mary’s at the top of the MIAA rankings.

The Belles’ hard work over the past two weekends, combined with their successful match two days ago, should give them exactly what they need in order to give a strong showing this weekend.

The MIAA match certainly gave the team confidence, but the Belles have been prepared for a while.

“Even coming out of last weekend I think we’re ready for it,” senior and co-captain Kirsten Fantom said.

Ironwood Golf Course, where the event is held, is a familiar place to the upperclassmen on the team. Saint Mary’s has competed there in both the fall and spring seasons for the past couple years.

So what will it take for Saint Mary’s to continue its momentum and defeat regional rivals DePauw University, one of the schools who will be at the event?

“It’s going to be short-game based, but that’s the way Ironwood is,” Fantom said.

The course is not particularly challenging, but it is likely to come down to a chipping and putting contest.

“If your short game is solid you’re going to do well,” Fantom said.

And after reclaiming their spot at No. 1 in the MIAA, the Belles feel that they are in perfect position to do well.

“We’re excited about it,” Fantom said. “We anticipate low scores, and our confidence was restored yesterday at our first conference match.”