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SMC Golf: Saint Mary’s places 6th at tournament

Joseph Monardo | Monday, September 26, 2011

The Belles had to compete with not only the field of teams at this weekend’s DePauw Small College Invitational, but also with the elements.

“The conditions were pretty rough,” Belles coach Mark Hamilton said. “The golf course was in not-great condition because of the hard summer that Indianapolis had, and then a lot of rain, so it was wet and bare. It was the same for everybody, but it was tough conditions.”

After finishing the first round in sixth place out of eight teams with a score of 350, No. 5 Saint Mary’s maintained its position throughout the second day with a score of 170 on the event’s second day, which was shortened to only nine holes due to inclement weather.

“Today … it started to rain and they knew some lightning and bad rain was coming and we weren’t going to be able to get in 18,” Hamilton said. “So they just called it at nine instead of playing 14 or 15 holes and then having to call it.”

No. 8 Centre College took the tournament title with a score of 482 over 27 holes, only four strokes ahead of second place No. 2 DePauw. With their score of 520, the Belles finished well back of the pack’s leaders, but only seven strokes back of conference rival No. 13 Olivet, the tournament’s fourth place finisher.

Although they were not able to move up any positions on the scoreboard, the Belles’ second round performance was one of the day’s best. In the second round, Saint Mary’s gained 14 strokes on Olivet and 11 strokes on fifth place Illinois Wesleyan.

“I was pretty pleased today. We played pretty well under tough conditions,” Hamilton said. “We had one of the lowest scores for nine holes today.”

In the first round, seniors Natalie Matuszak and Christine Brown led the Belles with matching rounds of 84, tying them for 19th place in the field. After registering 92 on the tournament’s opening 18 holes, junior Cara Kielty came back to lead the Belles in the second round with her round of 40.

Even after his team’s impressive performance Sunday, Hamilton has already targeted areas the Belles need to work on to turn in lower team scores.

“We’re still in the low end of the field in pars made,” he said. “I know we are pretty good ball strikers, so that means that we are hitting the golf ball close to the green and just not converting. We’ve still got to continue to work harder at it in practice this week.”

Saint Mary’s will return to action Thursday when the team travels to Albion for the third MIAA tournament of the year.

Contact Joseph Monardo at jmonardo@nd.edu