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SMC Golf: Belles take second at Medalist Club

Casey Karnes | Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Belles started strong in MIAA play, shooting a 341 as a team at the Medalist Golf Club, good enough to put them in second place after the first round of conference play.

It was the Belles’ second trip to the Medalist Club this season, and while their score failed to match their first two rounds at the course, they produced a better finish in the team ranking. Saint Mary’s trailed only Olivet College’s 329 on Tuesday in the team standings, and led third place Calvin College by six strokes.

The event’s hosts, Albion College, finished in seventh place with a score of 399. In the individual standings, Olivet’s Theresa Damico paced the group with a 78, with Saint Mary’s senior captain Paige Pollak hot on her heels with an 80 to tie for second.

While pleased with her team’s performance, Belles coach Kim Moore is hoping they can close the gap between them and Olivet over the next few rounds.

“We’re a little farther back than I thought we’d be, but we can’t win [the conference] on the first day,” Moore said. “I think we definitely have some work to do before we come back for the next one on Saturday.”

Outside of Pollak’s stellar performance, junior Janice Heffernan was the only other Belle in the top 10 individually, her 86 good enough to tie for ninth on the day. Sophomore Sammy Averill was third for the Belles and 11th overall with an 87, and freshman Ali Mahoney was tied for 13th with an 88. Averill was unable to match her performance from the O’Brien National Invitational at the Warren, where her career-best rounds of 81 and 80 earned her recognition as MIAA Woman’s Golfer of the Week. Despite that, Moore still saw glimpses of excellence in Averill’s round, especially her strong start to the day.

“She didn’t finish well, but she did well,” Moore said. “I was really impressed with the first nine [holes] she had, and that’s golf for you sometimes, you have a good nine then a bad nine.”

Rounding out the Belles’ top five was freshman Courtney Carlson in 18th place. It was Carlson’s first time qualifying as part of the Belles, and she finished with a 90. Coach Moore was excited with Carlson’s development, and believes she adds real depth to the Saint Mary’s roster.

“I think she did rather well,” Moore said. “It seemed like today, as with everyone, she had a good nine and a bad nine. But, I was really happy with the way she played today.”

The Belles face a quick turnaround this week, as they return to play at Milham Park Course in Kalamazoo, Mich., for the second round of MIAA play.

Contact Cassey Karnes at wkarnes@nd.edu