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SMC Golf: Belles to enter Jamboree

By Peter Steiner | Thursday, October 4, 2012

Halfway through their conference season, the Belles enter Saturday’s Jamboree hoping to improve on their current third-place position in the MIAA and climb the conference rankings.

The young Saint Mary’s squad will travel to Lenawee Country Club in Adrian, Mich., to compete in the fourth of six conference rounds this fall.

After finishing third in their home conference round on Sept. 26, the Belles trail second-ranked Hope College by only seven strokes, but only hold a two stroke lead on fourth-place Calvin.

Belles coach Mark Hamilton said the coming Jamboree presents an opportunity to overtake Hope and chip away at first-place Olivet’s lead.

“We’re looking to first of all get ahead [of] Hope to make sure we host one of the rounds in spring for our NCAA qualifier,” Hamilton said. “We are still gunning for the No. 1 team, which is Olivet. We’re 40 strokes from the top and we still feel like we’ve got a chance to catch them. We can’t make any mistakes. We’ve got to play well.”

To catch the conference front-runner, the Belles will rely on the play of their underclassmen. With five fall events under their belts, conference rounds are no longer new for the four freshmen on the Belles’ squad.

“I think they know what to expect,” Hamilton said. “They know their opponents. Again, it’s playing a golf course that nobody’s seen so we’re still a little behind there. I think they know the overall atmosphere of what a conference event is all about so we should feel a little more comfortable in what we’re doing out there.”

While inexperience has been a focus of the fall, Hamilton said he believes junior Alexi Bown is ready to take the next step. Bown has played as an individual in the fall thus far, but will get a chance in the starting lineup this weekend.

“One of our juniors, Lexi Bown, is starting to play very well,” Hamilton said. “She’s coming into her own here at the end of the season.

“It’s her turn to shine and I think she will. A few other players, the top other four, have struggled in the last couple of weeks, but I think it’s going to all come together on Saturday.”

In preparation for the upcoming Jamboree, the Belles have focused on keeping their shots down the middle, in addition to converting their chances around the green, Hamilton said.

“We need to hit the golf ball pretty straight,” Hamilton said. “It’s a tight golf course. We’ll need to hit the greens and when we don’t hit the greens, get it up and down, basically. Pretty simple.”

The Belles will travel to Adrian, Mich., on Saturday to compete in the fourth MIAA conference round of the fall season.

Contact Peter Steiner at