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SMC Golf: Belles prepare to host at Blackthorn

Becki Dorner | Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Fresh off a third-place finish at the Illinois Wesleyan Spring Fling, Saint Mary’s looks to continue its success at the SMC/Bethel Invitational today at Blackthorn Golf Club in South Bend.

The familiar surroundings may add to the team’s already boosted confidence from the Belles’ past solid performances.

At Illinois Wesleyan, MIAA league MVP Megan Mattia once again led the way for the Belles by finishing seventh overall with a 162. Freshman Alex Sei had her best round under coach Mark Hamilton, shooting a 76 on day two that helped her to record a two-day total of 166 to finish tied for 13th. In addition to Mattia’s 82 and Sei’s 76 in second-round play, the Belles were also bolstered by solid scores of 82 from Katie O’Brien and an 84 by captain Meredith Fantom. Combined, the Belles fell only one stroke shy of a tie for second place with William Woods University.

The amount of par fives, as well as par threes at Blackthorn should offer a lot of birdie opportunities for the Belles, which may be just what they need.

“[The team needs to] tighten things up and be a little more precise around the greens in order to challenge the top three teams in the country,” Hamilton said. “That will be our focus for the next couple of weeks.”

The pressure created by a course dominated by extremes – both par five and three – should accentuate the short game that the Belles have been concentrating on lately.

Saint Mary’s is still in position for the NCAA tournament as the top two teams in each region earn a spot.