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SMC GOLF: Belles tee off season, finish 11th in tourney

Jordan Beltz | Monday, September 5, 2005

The Saint Mary’s golf team got its season off on the right foot with an impressive 11th place finish at the Ferris State Fall Invitational this weekend.

The Belles fired a 344-340-684, finishing 69 strokes behind the tournament champions, the host Ferris State Lady Bulldogs. While the finish was maybe not as high as some fans may have expected, it was a solid showing to get the season off to a good start.

“As a team we played well considering it was our first tournament, but we could have done better,” said golfer Alex Sei.

Heading up the leader board for the Belles was senior Megan Mattie, who fired an 81 in the second round – good enough for a 25th overall finish. Senior co-captain Nicole Bellino shot a final round 84, which gave her a 48th place finish. Katie O’Brien shot a final round 86, good for a 51st place finish, while the other Belles co-captain, Kristen Fantom, fired an 89 to tie for 61st place.

The Belles knew going into the weekend that the most important thing to come out of the invitational was not going to be the team’s overall finish, but rather the development of the freshmen.

Sei, a freshman, was inserted into the lineup and shot a final round 92, finishing at the 85th position.

“I was under a lot of pressure,” Sei said. “It was very nerve wracking. All that I wanted to do was play well for the team.”

The Belles are focusing much more as playing together as a cohesive unit, as the team-oriented practices that they have been holding indicate. Having a freshmen contributor in the season opening match can only add to the team’s chemistry.

The Belles finished up the weekend strongly when comparing their results to those of other similarly sized schools in the region. They defeated rival St. Joseph’s (Ind.) by 18 shots, and only trailed bitter in-state rival DePauw by 44 strokes.

Looking ahead, while these early tournaments are indeed important, the ultimate goal for the team is to build up enough confidence to perform well at the MIAA Championships, which are to be held the weekend of Oct. 7 and 8.

In the meantime, the Belles will hope to carry the momentum from their solid finish this weekend to next weekend, as they take part in the Notre Dame Invitational.

“Next week we are going to go out and try our best, and hopefully perform a little better,” Sei said.

The Invitational will be held next Friday and Saturday at the Warren Golf Course.