Belles finish in 10th against top competition at O’Brien
Manuel De Jesus | Monday, September 15, 2014
At the end of the sixth annual O’Brien National Invitational, the Belles placed 10th in the event that featured Rhodes, last year’s NCAA Div. III champion, and Washington-St. Louis, who is ranked first this season.The top-notch competition this weekend made it difficult for the Belles to finish high in the standings, but there were some highlights for Saint Mary’s. Senior Janice Heffernan, who was named the MIAA Golfer of the week last week, led the Belles both days, shooting an 87 and 85 to tie for 37th as an individual. Sophomore Ali Mahoney followed Heffernan, scoring 174 over both days to place 43rd individually.
Junior Kate Zielinski improved significantly from day one to day two, lowering her score by eight strokes and finishing with a total of 184, which put her in 56th place. Sophomore Courtney Carlson struggled on the first day of the tourney, shooting a 109, but bounced back to improve by 20 strokes in on the second day. She jumped two spots to finish in 63rd place. Freshman Lydia Lorenc, the last eligible scorer for the Belles, wrapped up play with a score of 203, one place behind Carlson.
Belles coach Kimberly Moore said she understands her team did not play as well as they could have, but she praised her players for sticking through the tough environment.
“We definitely did not play our best golf,” Moore said. “We have a very young team, and I feel the tough course with the tough competition got to some of our players. I was pleased with some of our individuals who played. Even though their scores do not count for our team total, they had some really good individual holes. They had a few big numbers, which made their scores a little elevated, but the majority of their holes were right where they needed to be. I really see more playing time in their future.”
Freshmen Kaitlyn Cartone and Kelsey Conkright competed as individuals, scoring 192 (61st place) and 194 (62nd place) respectively. Sophomore Rachel Kim also competed as an individual for the Belles, scoring 190 total and finishing in 60th place.
Moore said the O’Brien tournament is a humbling experience because it’s one of the few tournaments where the top programs in the nation come together to compete.
“The O’Brien Invite is rated one of the best tournaments for Div. III golf in the country,” Moore said. “We are so fortunate to have the support of the O’ Brien family; without their support, we wouldn’t be able to host this event. It is so great for us to see how we compare to some of the best schools in the nation and for the other schools to do the same. A lot of these schools never see each other, and with the help of the O’Brien family we are able to bring all these teams together for a special weekend.”
Moore said having the opportunity to interact with other coaches in the tournament helped her learn more about the game of golf through the perspective of a coach.
“During most tournaments there is a lot of interaction between coaches,” Moore said. “We really get to know one another, especially the coaches and teams we see a lot. All of the coaches are extremely supportive of each other and the experience of the more veteran coaches are very valuable to first-year coaches like me.”
The Belles will continue to prepare for MIAA play, which starts Sept. 24, as they compete next weekend in the DePauw Small College Classic at the Deer Creek Golf Course in Clayton, Indiana.