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SMC Golf

Belles return to MIAA play

| Wednesday, September 24, 2014

After finishing fourth at the season’s first MIAA Jamboree and 13th at the Depauw Small College Classic, the Belles aim to improve their team score in the second round of MIAA conference play this weekend.

Hope and Olivet proved top conference competitors at the Jamboree on Wednesday, earning first and second place, respectively. At Depauw, six of the 16 schools that participated were ranked in the NCAA Division III top-25 at the end of last season. With a strong representation in both event fields, the Belles struggled to keep up with the tougher competition, while simultaneously trying to master the course, Belles coach Kimberly Moore said.

“The competition at the DePauw Small College Classic was pretty difficult,” Moore said. “However, I felt that our play could have been a little better. The course was a little narrow, so there was a lot of opportunity to get in trouble, and putting was a little difficult. Having said that, we have to do a little better in figuring out the speed of greens and adapting to our situations.”

Senior Janice Heffernan led the way for the Belles at the Jamboree and Depauw. Heffernan shot an 80 for third place at the Jamboree and posted scores of 82 and 87 at Depauw for 29th.

Sophomore Ali Mahoney shot a two-day score of 181 and finished tied for 60th place at Depauw, while sophomore captain Courtney Carlson improved her day-two score by seven strokes to finish overall with 185 and a share of 67th place. Mahoney and Carlson both shot scores of 87 at the Jamboree.

Sophomore Rachel Kim played consistently at Depauw, shooting a 93 on the first day and 94 on the second day to tie for 70th place. She posted a 90 for a share of 23rd place at the Jamboree on Wednesday. Junior Katie Zielinski shot a 95 on the first day and a 96 on the second for a 77th place finish at DePauw. At the Jamboree, Zielinski shot a 93 and tied for 33rd.

At DePauw, Freshman Kaitlyn Cartone made the most significant improvement between rounds for the Belles, shooting a 97 in the first round and an 86 in the second. She posted an 84 for a share of seventh place at the Jamboree, the second highest finish for the Belles.

Despite the high scores for the Belles, Moore said there were plenty of positives to take away from the tournament.

“We had more birdies as a team than we’ve had at any tournament this year,” Moore said. “That is a great improvement. Also, Kaitlyn Cartone finished the second round with her best collegiate finish so far. Her score in the second round is a score that I know she can shoot on a regular basis. I feel that shooting a score like that can really give her some confidence going into our MIAA conference action.”

As part of conference play, the Belles face Olivet this weekend. Olivet beat St. Mary’s at every MIAA conference competition last season. The Belles already have competed against Olivet in two of the three tournaments this season, including the DePauw Small College Classic where the teams tied for 13th place.

The Belles hope to improve their scores against Olivet this season. Having a young roster lead the way has positives, but also creates challenges, Moore said.

“The advantages of having a young team is that they are all really eager to practice and play,” Moore said. “They are also excited to learn new techniques and drills to make them better. Some of the disadvantages come when we are playing during competition. A lot of things learned on the golf course and during competition come with playing more tournaments and competition. The courses and length can be a little different than what they may have been used to so it takes getting used to hitting more woods or hybrids into greens than irons.”

More said she already has talked to her golfers about the importance of mastering the small details of their games in order to advance their abilities on the course.

“I am going to continue to emphasize the importance of our chipping and putting,” Moore said. “It is always extremely important, but I want them to really focus on using that part of the game to help them. I also want them to limit the big numbers, play smart and go out there and have fun. We have a great chance of being one of the best teams in the conference, and I’m looking forward to our MIAA play.”

The Belles will travel to Alma College this weekend to play in their second MIAA competition. The team is set to tee off Saturday at 1 p.m.

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About Manuel De Jesus

Manuel De Jesus is a junior from Chicago, Illinois. He is an American Studies major with a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. He is currently covering ND Volleyball, Men's Soccer and Men's Basketball.

Contact Manuel