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SMC Golf: Comets lead Saint Mary’s by 14

By Brendan Bell | Friday, September 21, 2012

The No. 15 Belles ended the opening day of conference play tied for third place in the MIAA with an overall score of 338, 14 shots behind the leader Olivet.

Saint Mary’s coach Mark Hamilton said errors caused the Belles to position themselves in third rather than higher up the leader board .

“It was a little disappointing today as we made some mistakes and had to take some penalty shots,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said the course at the Medalist Golf Course at Olivet posed a challenge because of both its unfamiliarity and its unfavorable conditions.

“It was a tough course to play for the first time, and we talked about that afterwards and will gradually improve,” Hamilton said. “It was quite gusty today and the greens were challenging.”

Despite the tough opening day of conference play, the Belles will look to get back on track at Alma’s home course for another MIAA Jamboree on Saturday before returning home Wednesday to host the third round of the conference play.

“After Alma this weekend, next week we get the opportunity to play at home and we are excited about that,” Hamilton said.

Leading the way for Saint Mary’s was junior Alexi Brown, who shot a low score of 82. This personal record for Brown allowed the Belles to stay close to their main competitors. Ahead of Saint Mary’s in first place is Olivet with a score of 324, and Hope College took second with a score of 336. Tied with Saint Mary’s in third place is Calvin College. The lowest score on the day was from Olivet junior Theresa Damico with a round of 72.

“She is a great player and today’s performances were even more impressive considering the conditions,” Hamilton said.

For the Belles, a few of the regular top performers including freshman Amanda Graham and junior Justine Breshnahan were troubled by mistakes early in the round that caused them to shoot scores of 88 and 87, respectively. Hamilton said he expects Graham and Breshnahan will get back on track this Saturday.

“I know they will definitely improve from today’s performances, as they shot well and hit a lot of greens, but the few sevens and eights early in the round did us in even as we continued to make some birdies later in the round,” Hamilton said. “They are great players.”

The Belles will continue their conference play at Alma’s Pine River golf course this Saturday starting at 1 p.m.