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SMC Golf: Belles clinch berth in national championships

Megan Golden | Monday, May 2, 2011

For the third consecutive year, the Belles have powered their way to an appearance in the NCAA Division III championships due in large part to a resilient, all-around team effort this past weekend.

Saint Mary’s once again came from behind Saturday to pull off a stunning victory over conference rival Olivet at the Belles’ home course, Blackthorn Golf Club. The Belles turned in a team score of 970 in the tournament, beating out second place Olivet’s score of 994.

“Olivet is our biggest rival in our conference, and they’ve been playing really well in the last couple tournaments we’ve played in,” senior Mary Kate Boyce said. “A win because of that makes it a lot more exciting.”

Belles freshmen Marin Beagley and Doyle O’Brien stepped up in the clutch and remained focus against challenging competition. Beagley’s 78 and O’Brien’s 79 — both career-bests — led the Belles to a dominant third round victory, 315-342 over Olivet.

“They’re freshmen playing under pressure, and that’s tough, but Doyle and Marin did a good job of that,” Boyce said. “Marin’s been working really hard and working on bringing a positive attitude, and it helped her a lot yesterday. She was able to bring in a low score for us, especially under pressure.”

Saint Mary’s scoring five all finished in the top-10, and nine individuals secured spots in the top-13 for the Belles. Great scores across the board for the Belles, Boyce said, is an encouraging sign for the future.

“We had two big scorers from the freshmen, and everybody just really stepped up and we got the win,” Boyce said. “[Those outside the scoring five] stepped up, too. I know their scores don’t count, but just seeing them play well was exciting because we could’ve gotten to nationals with all of those scores.”

Boyce, who shot a 78, said the team worked on remaining focused and not allowing the opposition to be a distraction.

“Before we teed off, we all talked about playing loose, and we knew it’s tough to play and not think about the player you’re competing against. We all focused on our own game,” she said. “[Going to the NCAA championships is] pretty exciting, and looking at the score outside of the top five shows a bright future. There was a lot of pressure at the end, and it makes it so much more exciting to be going to Florida.”

The Belles travel to Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., from May 10 to 13 to compete in the NCAA Division III championships at Mission Inn and Resort’s El Campeon Golf Course.