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SMC Golf

Belles take next step in development

| Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Saint Mary’s started its spring season over spring break by placing 15th at the Jekyll Islands Collegiate Invitational at Indian Mound Golf Course in Jekyll Island, Georgia.

The tournament, which was played Friday through Sunday, hosted a field of 19 Division-III teams, five of which were ranked in the top 25 in the country. The Belles shot 1,042 (+178) over the course of the weekend, but Belles head coach Kim Moore said she viewed the tournament as a stepping stone for the team moving forward.

“I thought the Jekyll Island tournament was a great training trip,” Moore said.

The Belles struggled Friday and Saturday, posting team scores of 349 and 353, respectively. Moore attributed the lackluster performance to the Belles’ inability to practice outdoors for the past few months.

“The transition from hitting and practicing indoors to outdoors can be a little difficult,” Moore said. “The touch and feel needed in golf is something that can’t be simulated indoors.”

With the weather improving in South Bend, the Belles should be able to get outside and work more efficiently on improving certain areas of their game in order to present a more balanced attack going forward, Moore said. The team overall struggled to hit greens as well as putting, which is an aspect of the game Moore said she wants Saint Mary’s to work on before future tournaments.

“[I] figured our short game would be a little off,” Moore said. “Now that all the snow is melted, we can get outside and get some good quality practice in.”

There were positives that came out of the Jekyll Island tournament, beginning Sunday with the team’s score of 340. Junior Katie Zielinski led the Belles with her tournament-low round of 79 (+7), followed by sophomore Courtney Carlson’s score of 85 (+13).

Driving and ball protection were two aspects of the Belles’ game Moore said she was pleased with. The team in general kept the ball out of hazards and had opportunities to score well, but sinking putts was the issue it ran into, she said.

“We didn’t always take advantage of those chances, but it was good to see that they were there,” Moore said.

Moore said she liked the focus her team showed during the sometimes grueling five-hour rounds at the tournament. Often, she said, it’s easy for golfers to get overly tired or distracted over the course of the round.

“I felt they stayed focused and took one shot at a time,” she said.

The team’s goal for the year, according to Moore, is to win the conference’s NCAA tournament bid, a goal she believes the Belles can accomplish with some outside practice time.

“We just need to get back into the ‘swing’ of things,” Moore joked.

The Belles return to action March 28-29 at the Washington University-St. Louis Invitational at Gateway National Golf Links in Madison, Illinois.

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