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SMC Golf: Belles face strong competition

Joe Wirth | Friday, September 23, 2011

The Belles will be in action this weekend at the DePauw Small College Classic, a two-day tournament with a strong field that has four of the top 10 teams in the country.

Saint Mary’s hopes to rebound from a disappointing loss to Olivet and Hope in a three-team jamboree Wednesday. The Belles finished five strokes behind Hope and 22 strokes behind Olivet.

Because of the competitive field, Belles coach Mark Hamilton knows this tournament will be a big test for his team, but it will also provide an opportunity for them to spark their season and test themselves against some of the best in the country.

The Belles have yet to win a MIAA match and their best finish in a tournament was a tie for eighth at the O’Brien National Invitational.

“We have to bounce back and this tournament will be a tremendous challenge,” Hamilton said. “The field is very strong with four of the top 10 nationally, including who I think are the two best teams in the country in Washington University and DePauw.”

Senior Christine Brown has consistently led the Belles this season and hopes to continue her good play this weekend.

Another standout for Saint Mary’s has been freshman Janice Heffernan. Her score of 86 Wednesday was the second best score of the day for the Belles.

Saint Mary’s is also looking for top performances from juniors Cara Kielty and Jessica Kinnick and senior Natalie Matuszak.

Hamilton knows he has a talented team and thinks they are close to playing their best. He said they have to put full rounds together and get rid of the big numbers.

“We have good holes and we have a lot of good nines, but we have a hard time backing it up,” Hamilton said. “We make too many mistakes. We have to clean up our rounds.”

The competition will begin Saturday morning at 11 a.m. at the Deer Creek Golf Course in Clayton, Ind.