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SMC Golf: Belles seek NCAA berth and beyond

Andrew Cardoza | Friday, August 24, 2012

As the school year is starting up, there are a lot of new expectations for the Saint Mary’s golf team.

Big expectations are the norm for the Belles, having finished third in the MIAA in the fall portion of last season. And Saint Mary’s came out on a mission in the spring season. As a result, the team’s scores dropped as the spring moved along, and it finished the year by earning their seventh berth in the NCAA Division III championships.

Belles coach Mark Hamilton said the team has even bigger goals they would like to achieve.

“Our goal is to start the fall season by winning the conference championship, perform well in the two big tournaments, the Anderson Invitational and O’Brien National Invitational and to be ranked highly as possible,” Hamilton said.

The Belles’ roster will include seven new athletes, five first years and two transfer students. Hamilton is looking to the newcomers to have a major impact on the team and the outcome of the meets.

“The first-year students played quite well in the qualifying week,” Hamilton said. “I saw a lot of good things that will help us to be a better team. With hard work and practice, they can really challenge the upperclassmen and make this team have more depth.”

One of the returning golfers for the Belles is junior Doyle O’Brien. She helped lead the team to a very promising campaign last year, as well as leading them to the NCAA tournament. O’Brien set school records for the lowest individual round – shooting a 72 – and lowest four-day score (307) at the NCAA championships, while tying for sixth place individually. The incoming junior received Honorable Mention All-American accolades for her efforts.

“If our team can have a lower scoring average from top to bottom and everyone competes to the way they practice, we can be a very tough team to beat down the stretch,” Hamilton said.

The Belles will have the opportunity to play in six meets this fall, including two tournaments, which involve competing against three of the top-25 teams in the country in the preseason polls.

The Belles will compete at the Anderson Invitational in Anderson, Ind., on Sept. 1 and 2.

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