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SMC Golf: Belles will try to track down Hope

Joseph Monardo | Wednesday, September 21, 2011

After emerging from the first conference match of the season in second place, the Belles are hoping to simultaneously distance themselves from the pack and begin hunting down front-runner Hope in their second conference match Wednesday.

No. 5 Saint Mary’s sits 17 strokes behind Hope, but three strokes ahead of third place Olivet. Despite the large deficit, the Belles realize they still have plenty of time to overtake Hope.

“We feel okay about the conference standings, and are looking to make up some strokes tomorrow,” junior Cara Kielty said. “Typically we come back from behind so we are going to approach tomorrow with confidence and the knowledge that we can improve on our standings.”

Last year, the Belles entered the season’s second conference match trailing Olivet by four strokes before capturing the match by 10 strokes, propelling them into a lead they would maintain for the rest of the season.

“There is a little bit of urgency to cut down on our total score as a team so we can either move up into first, or remain comfortable in second by cutting the lead down,” Kielty said.

Aside from improving their position in the conference scoreboard, the Belles are viewing the match as yet another opportunity to improve their play.

In the season’s first MIAA match, senior captain Christine Brown led the Belles with an event-high four birdies en route to earning a score of 80, a mark that was the field’s second lowest. But Saint Mary’s turned in a team score of 342 for the round, an inflated score the team attributed to loss of concentration, among other things.

The Belles aim to minimize those mistakes the second time around.

“Some goals for this match are to cut down on our total score, apply what we have been practicing for the past few weeks to our rounds and, most importantly, stay focused,” Kielty said.

In their championship season in the fall of 2010, the Belles recorded a team score above 342 only once, when they scored 343 in the third MIAA match of the year. The team ended the season with an average score of 326.5 in conference matches.

But the more immediate standard for this Saint Mary’s team is that set by Hope, the host team for this round of play.

“Hope is hosting this tournament so I’m sure they will be ready to perform just like they did at Trine [in the first match], but the pressure of maintaining their lead could pose some problems, so it is our chance to take advantage of this tournament and improve our standings,” Kielty said.

The match is at the Ravines Golf Course at Hope, with players scheduled to tee off at 1 p.m.