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SMC Golf: Belles win Southwest invitational

Megan Golden | Wednesday, April 6, 2011

In the face of adverse weather conditions, the Belles used consistency and teamwork to secure a first place finish in the Southwestern Invitational with a score of 650. Junior Natalie Matuszak and senior Rosie O’Connor tied for medalist in the tournament as they both shot 161 for the two days.

Heading into the match, the Belles knew that they would need strong performances to compete against a talented field.

“They said we had to produce something really good to win, and everyone came in with low numbers,” senior Mary Kate Boyce said. “We were pretty excited to do that against a tough field.”

The Belles were in first place after day one, despite the windy weather in Georgetown, Texas. When the wind subsided on day two of the tournament, Saint Mary’s capitalized on the favorable conditions.

“Monday there was a lot of wind. Basically it was survival, like my coach [Mark Hamilton] said. Even the teams from Texas were saying how windy it was. I struggled a lot,” Boyce said. “Day two everyone came out and it was our kind of weather and we had to show them how we performed in our weather.”

Earlier this season, Boyce set a school record for a single round when she shot a 66 at the George Fox Invitational. Boyce struggled on the first day, but improved her score Tuesday to keep the Belles in the tournament, finishing with a 169 (94-75). Although the team captain did not play her best, her teammates lifted the team up. Matuszak and O’Connor tied for the individual lead in the tournament.

“Natalie played consistently. I know that the second day she was really focused and wanted to put a lower number on the board so we could come away with the win. She did that, and we were pretty excited,” Boyce said. “It’s good for Rosie because we know it’s been there for a while, and she finally let it come through.”

Boyce said that Saint Mary’s team cohesion was the biggest factor in the Belles’ first place finish.

“I don’t think it was more of a physical thing [as much as] it was that everyone was playing as a team. It’s something I haven’t seen in a long time,” Boyce said. “It wasn’t about individuals’ performances — it was about individuals’ performances helping the team win the whole thing. That will help us win it all at the end.”

The Belles return to action Thursday, Apr. 14, when they travel to Marshall, Mich., to compete in the MIAA NCAA qualifier.