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SMC Golf: Belles improve in Kentucky

Bill Brink | Monday, March 26, 2007

Junior Katie O’Brien posted a team-low, two-day total of 167 to lead Saint Mary’s to a 20th-place finish in the Northern Kentucky Invitational over the weekend. O’Brien shot an 83 in the first round and an 84 in the second during this weekend’s tournament. “[She] played well both rounds. She struck the ball very well,” Belles coach Mark Hamilton said. “She struggled somewhat in putting, but still managed to shoot good scores.”Sophomore Meredith Fantam shot a 91 in her first round and an 87 in her second, totaling 178. Sophomore Meaghan Fontein shot a 110 during her first round, but significantly lowered her score, posting a 91 in her second round, to finish at 201.”[She] improved twenty strokes over her first score, so she really played well for us today,” Hamilton said.The team was more comfortable after having played their first tournament of the year, and it showed. O’Brien beat her previous score by 24 strokes and Fantam lowered hers by 19. “Everybody was a little more relaxed,” Hamilton said. “We just played slightly closer to our potential.”As drastic as the improvements were, however, there are still kinks to be worked out.”We still struggled on the greens this week, so we’re still looking for an answer for that,” he said.Hamilton said the field of 22 teams was stronger than the competition faced during the previous tournament. He also said that the course was very conducive to lower scores and expressed relief the weather had improved since the team’s last tournament.”The conditions were benign, the weather was perfect,” he said. “There was almost no wind.”The dip in scores was partially indicative of fine-tuning, but also had to do with the experience of playing in a tournament the week before, Hamilton said.”We made some adjustments as far as strategy, as far as understanding how to play the course a little bit better,” he said. “After having a tournament under your belt, you’re a little more relaxed when you go out and play. We kind of lost our deer-in-the-headlights look a little bit from our first tournament of the year, and played closer to our potential.”Perri Hamma and Theresa Tonyan rounded out Saint Mary’s competitors at the Invitational. Hamma shot 93 and 101 to total 194 and Tonyan shot 114 and 110 to post a score of 224.