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SMC Golf: Team takes third place at Warren

Meaghan Veselik | Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Saint Mary’s claimed a surprising third place finish this weekend at the O’Brien National Invitational, hosted by the Belles at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course. The No. 13 Belles finished the two-day competition with a total of 629 while freshman Martyna Minerza took the individual championship with a 147.

“The real difference between today and yesterday’s performance was the deep concentration from the first shot through the end,” Belles captain Perri Hamma said. “We all knew what we needed to do in order to perform well and we played with that in the back of our minds.”

Defending national champion Methodist University led the field going into day two, and came out on top with a team score of 618. No. 5 Wisconsin-Eau Claire was six strokes behind going into Monday’s round, but came out only two strokes behind for a second-place finish.

No. 3 Gustavus Adolphus College took fourth at 646 while No. 9 DePauw University moved up one to finish fifth with 653 and No. 8 Illinois Wesleyan was four strokes behind, moving up two spots to come out in sixth. No. 7 Allegheny fell back to seventh at 661 while No. 4 Southwestern finished in eighth with 667. No. 6 Otterbein stayed in ninth with a team score of 686.

Minerzwa shot a 76 on day one, and came back with a 71 on day two to take the title. She was followed by Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Catherine Wagner’s score of 150, and Methodist’s Susan Martin’s 151.

Saint Mary’s junior Mary Kate Boyce moved up from 12th to take a share of ninth after shooting 79 both days for a 158. Sophomore Natalie Matuszak stayed consistent, shooting an 80 both days, but also moved up two places to take a share of 14th with a 160. Junior Rosie O’Connor trailed Matuszak by four strokes for a share of 22nd, and Hamma rounded out the Belles scoring by taking off a stroke from day one for an 87, finishing with a 175.

“Taking third against these teams is something we should all be really proud of,” Hamma said. “I think it shows the country that we have the skills necessary to be a top team in Division III. This gives our team a lot of confidence necessary to continue these kinds of results, and shows all of us that we can play and win against some of the best teams.”

Saint Mary’s will start their conference competition this Thursday at Albion for the first of four regular season MIAA matches this fall.