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SMC Golf: Clubbers go for warmth

Bill Brink | Friday, March 23, 2007

Five Saint Mary’s golfers will travel to Perry Park, Ky., to compete in the Northern Kentucky Invitational, which takes place Saturday and Sunday.

In just their second spring tournament appearance, the Belles hope to improve on their previous performance at the Fairfield University Invitational.

Junior Katie O’Brien, sophomores Perri Hamma and Meredith Fantom, and freshmen Theresa Tonyan and Meaghan Fontain will all travel south. O’Brien led the Belles last week by shooting a two-round total of 191 strokes, good for 47-over.

Saint Mary’s coach Mark Hamilton said that the team has some improving to do.

“They’re really more determined to show the rest of the country that the scores we shot were a little inflated,” he said. “They can play much better, and they’re excited to come out and prove themselves.”

For players like O’Brien and Fantom, who remained in contention all of last weekend, the key to vaulting to the next level may not lie in the physical aspect of the game but in the mental portion.

“They need confidence, knowing that they can do it, and they’re capable,” Hamilton said. “Some fine-tuning and mechanical things. But really, getting on a roll out there, getting some pars under your belt, and believing in yourself that they can do it.”

The team’s play last week exposed areas of improvement the team worked on this week. Long-range chip shots weren’t landing close enough to the pin, and with the course it will play this weekend, the team has focused on shots in the 20-40 yard range.

“We’ve worked on a lot of long chip shots this week simply because this golf course is designed quite a bit differently than a lot of the courses we play down south,” Hamilton said. “There are a lot of big greens at this course, so we’ll tend to have a few more chips than pitches.”

With the nice weather this week, the Belles have been able to practice outside. The course the Belles use to practice opened a couple of days ago, and the team has also hit balls at their outdoor facility.

The team will likely face tough competition in Perry Park. DePauw, the No. 2 Division III team in the nation, will compete in the Invitational as well. The competition doesn’t get any easier after DePauw.

“There will also be quite a few Division II and some smaller Division I schools there too,” Hamilton said. “It will be pretty stiff competition, probably just as stiff as we faced down south.”