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SMC Golf: Belles take second straight title in tournament

Becki Dorner | Thursday, April 6, 2006

The Belles shot a tournament-record 334 at the Foxfire Golf Club of Ohio in Saturday’s final round to win their second straight championship in the Capital University Purple & White Invitational.

The Belles are the second team to win back-to-back events in the tournament’s seven-year history.

Saint Mary’s sophomore Katie O’Brien got the team off to a strong start despite tough conditions and led the field after the first day.

“On Friday the course was playing tough,” Saint Mary’s senior Megan Mattia said. “It was raining and there were really strong winds.”

But the Belles remained confident despite the elemental hardships.

“Despite our overall difficulty on the first day, we went out Saturday knowing we could play better,” Saint Mary’s captain Kirsten Fantom said. “… [We were] approaching the round one shot at a time.”

On the second day, Saint Mary’s improved 26 strokes on their first round total of 360 to record a 334 – winning by 25 strokes.

Otterbein (719) finished in second place and Ohio Northern University (735) took third place. Baldwin-Wallace College (781) finished fourth and Wilmington College (796) rounded out the top five.

Mattia carded a Foxfire course record 77 on the second day to lead Saint Mary’s and her two-day total of 165 gave her Medalist honors.

Mattia shot her record score on the 5,981-yard, par-72 course, which is 40 yards longer than the Players Course where the first round was played.

Otterbein College’s Rustie Anderson earned second place with a 167 (87, 80), while her teammate Katie Johnson (89, 81) and first round leader O’Brien (83, 87) tied for third at 170. Two-time defending medalist Colleen Groomes (Otterbein) finished in fifth with a 171 (87-84).

Fantom said the “preparation, determination, and will of the team” contributed to they players’ consistent performances. Fantom finished sixth overall (174), Saint Mary’s freshman Alex Sei finished 13th (185) and Saint Mary’s senior Nicole Bellino tied for 17th (187).

The Belles remain focused and are already preparing for the upcoming match at Illinois Wesleyan University.

“We are excited about going to IWU next weekend,” Mattia said. “We know the course really well so we have high expectations.”