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SMC Golf: Tourney to test Belles in Florida

Matt Robison | Friday, September 24, 2010

In their second straight weekend facing stiff competition, the No. 5 Belles will head to Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., to participate in the Fall Preview at the Mission Inn Resort, where the NCAA Division III championships will be held for the 14th consecutive year this spring.

The Belles finished sixth Monday in the O’Brien National Invitational at the Warren Golf Course, and Belles coach Mark Hamilton said there are a few necessary adjustments before the Belles travel south.

“It’s a quick turn-around,” Hamilton said. “There are a few shots we need for this course, there’s a few elevated greens. But general preparation is always our ‘MO.'”

There will be an interesting mixture of experience and inexperience on the Belles roster this weekend, as two of the five Belles have played this course before. But, Hamilton said his team adjusted well to the course in the fall.

“With a lot of young players, I can see the adjustments that need to be made right away,” Hamilton said. “They’ve done a great job making those adjustments so far. Anyone who plays golf, though, knows that adjustments are much more difficult to make on the golf course than on the driving range.”

This weekend, the Belles need to pay attention to detail, Hamilton said.

“We’re going to try to eliminate some unforced errors,” Hamilton said.

Senior Mary Kate Boyce led Saint Mary’s in the O’Brien Invitational, and she will look to set the pace again in Florida. Earlier this week, Boyce was named MIAA Golfer of the Week and was named to the All-Tournament team. Her two-day score of 156 was good to tie for second place.

A familiar foe awaits the Belles at the Mission Inn Resort, No. 1 Methodist University. The Monarchs captured their second consecutive win at the O’Brien Invitational on Monday and are undefeated this season.

Despite Methodist’s dominance this year and in the past, Hamilton said he wants the Belles to challenge the Monarchs.

“I’d like to be in the final group going into the last day with the No. 1 team in the country,” Hamilton said.

In addition to Methodist, Saint Mary’s will face Allegheny College, Piedmont College, Birmingham Southern College, Berry College, Wartburg College, Rhodes College and Illinois Wesleyan University.

Saint Mary’s will tee off at the Mission Inn Resort Saturday, and the tournament will conclude Monday.