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SMC Golf: Team qualifies for Div. II NCAAs

Bobby Graham | Monday, April 27, 2009

Despite the fact that South Bend is finally warming up, the Belles will head down to Port St. Lucie, Fla., after qualifying for the 2009 NCAA Women’s Division III Golf Championship, which will begin on May 13.

Saint Mary’s qualified for the championships with a win in the MIAA tournament this weekend.

Going into the third and final round of the MIAA qualifier, Saint Mary’s held a 14-stroke lead over conference rival Olivet. Despite the fact that Olivet shot the lowest score of the day, 331, Saint Mary’s held on after shooting a 334 to finish 11 strokes ahead and clinch the qualifying bid.

“We’ve never really played well there,” Belles coach Mark Hamilton said. “It was our best round in seven years at that course.”

Sophomore Emily Gore led the Belles with a score of 82 on the last day and a fourth-place finish overall. The final four golfers for Saint Mary’s all shot within three strokes of one another, with scores ranging from 83 to 85.

Senior Perri Hamma’s 85 was the best of all golfers playing as individuals.

The Belles can sit back and relax for the next couple days as the rest of the field at this year’s championship has yet to be determined. The remaining teams will be announced later this week.

Hamilton said the next few weeks would be business as usual for his team, but that it is also a time for the Belles to enjoy.

“We’re going to enjoy our time down there,” he said. “We’re peaking at the right time.”