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SMC Golf: Belles finish on high note

Peter Steiner | Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Following a disappointing first half of the fall season, the Belles finished their conference schedule on a high note. Saint Mary’s placed second at the MIAA End of Season Weekend Jamboree on Oct. 11 and 12 at the Bedford Valley Country Club in Battle Creek, Mich.

The second-place finish in the End of the Season Jamboree combined with its first-place finish at the Adrian Jamboree on Oct. 6 moved Saint Mary’s past Calvin into second place in the final MIAA standings.

“I think we’ve started to scratch our potential,” Belles coach Mark Hamilton said. “Everyone is getting used to playing college golf and we were actually in a little bit of a slump and so we’ve just started to scratch the surface … It was a good note to end on.”

After the first day of play, the Belles were tied for second with Calvin as both teams shot a score of 340. But Saint Mary’s pulled away on the second day, carding another 340 while Hope turned in a team score of 356. The Belles’ second round was especially impressive because they admirably dealt with terrible conditions, Hamilton said.

“The main test was the second day where the conditions were about as bad as you can imagine,” Hamilton said. “I honestly don’t I’ve played or coached in worse conditions than what we had. It was about 39 degrees, windy and rainy. I was very proud of the way our team hung in there.

“We were the only team to do the same or improve on the first day. So I was very proud of how they performed and hung in there because there were a lot of players and teams that were going the other direction, having a hard time competing.”
Junior Paige Pollak led the way for the Belles, placing third overall in the tournament with a two-day score of 163. Sophomore Janice Heffernan also cracked the top ten, finishing seventh with a score of 169. Freshmen Amanda Graham and Claire Boyle and junior Justine Bresnahan rounded out the top five for Saint Mary’s.

“Paige struggled a little bit earlier in the season and she started to find some form the last couple of rounds of the year, which I knew she would do,” Hamilton said. “She was one of the players that was slumping a little bit … Shooting 80 on the last day was quite a special round.”

After finishing among the top 12 MIAA golfers, Bresnahan, Heffernan, Graham and Boyle were all named to the All-MIAA Second Team.

Saint Mary’s now looks ahead to their spring schedule, during which they will compete in three 18-hole rounds to decide which teams will compete in the 2013 Division III championships. Hamilton knows all the hard work his team put in this fall season will pay off come May.

“Inch by inch we work on getting better throughout the fall,” he said. “We know that we are never quite where we want to be until we get to May. We have some younger players going through the adjustments and starting to see some of the fruits of their labor.”

Contact Peter Steiner at psteiner@nd.edu