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SMC GOLF: Saint Mary’s heads to first tourney

Chris Doyen | Friday, September 7, 2007

Saint Mary’s will open conference play with the first MIAA Jamboree at Milham Park in Kalamazoo, Mich., Saturday.

The Belles will be squaring off against all eight conference opponents, including Olivet College, the 2006 MIAA champions.

In their opening event last weekend at the Ferris State Invitational, the Belles posted a two-round score of 697, which put them in a tie for 13th in the 18-team field. Olivet finished 11th with a score of 683.

Since this is the start of the conference schedule, the intensity level will be high for all participating teams, Belles coach Mark Hamilton said. Because each team gets a cumulative five-round score, Hamilton is stressing the need to finish well in these conference meets.

“Every round counts, and it is important to be consistent,” he said.

While there will be four more rounds of conference play after Saturday, it will be important for the Belles not to dig themselves into a hole.

“If we just play to our potential, we should be fine,” Hamilton said.

One obstacle the Belles will have to overcome is their lack of familiarity with the course. Host Kalamazoo played in a three-team match at its home course on Wednesday, finishing third – behind Olivet and Saint Francis – while posting a score of 399. None of the current Saint Mary’s golfers have ever played the course. But even though two squads from the conference are coming off of a recent outing at Milham Park, Hamilton doesn’t expect that to factor heavily in the results.

“It’s a slight disadvantage,” Hamilton said. “But it’s a pretty simple course, and we shouldn’t have any trouble figuring it out.”

Freshman Emily Gore will look to follow up her team-best performance from last weekend. Gore fired a 168 from last weekend to earn 45th overall.