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SMC Golf: Belles to challenge Northern Kentucky in first dual meet

Joe Meixell | Friday, March 24, 2006

The Belles look to build on a 13th place finish at the Shamrock Invitational when they lock horns with Northern Kentucky in a dual meet this coming weekend at the Perry Park Golf Course, a long par-72.

Their scores evenly matched with Northern Kentucky, the Belles will need to be on top of their game. In their most recent contest at the Lady Moc golf classic at the Cleveland Heights Golf Club in Lakefield, Fla., Northern Kentucky tallied a final round total of 323 on the 5,997-yard, par-72 course to finish in 11th place.

Their top scorer, Alicia Lawrence, tied for 18th with a final round score of 76, while their next top performer was Kelsey Gauthier, who tied in 39th with her final round score of 81.

The Belles, on the other hand, recorded a 339 in their last round at the Shamrock Invitational at the Tega Cay Country Club (par-72, 5,842 yards) hosted by Winthrop University in South Carolina.

The Belles were led by Megan Mattia’s 20th place finish and low score of 74, while senior captain Nicole Bellino delivered an 81 to earn 50th place.

Mattia, the MVP of the MIAA League during the fall season of this year, said the team has high expectations for the spring season.

“We have a great team this year with four graduating seniors who all want to end the season on a high note by getting a bid to the national tournament in May for the fourth year in a row,” she said.

Bellino and fellow senior captain Kirsten Fantom will fight alongside Mattia and senior Erin McQueen to try to help the team reach its potential.

According to Golfstat.com, that potential places the Belles No. 4 nationally among the top Division III teams in their annual ranking. The National Golf Coaches Association places them at a lower, but still competitive, No. 13 rank.

But Belles coach Mark Hamilton said the Belles must sharpen their short game after a long winter season that made practicing those skills difficult.

Although the winter might have made practice difficult, Mattia stressed that improvements made over break were obvious during last week’s Shamrock Invitational.