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SMC Golf: Belles finish in sixth place in MIAA tourney

Kate Arnold | Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Although the season may be over, the work has only just begun for the Belles.

Saint Mary’s carded a team score of 382 in the third and final round of the MIAA NCAA qualifying tournament to finish sixth in the conference with a total of 1142, 81 strokes behind champion Olivet.

In the first two rounds, held at the Medalist Golf Club in Marshall, Mich., from April 20-21, the Belles scored a 374 and 386, respectively.

Tuesday’s final round was held at Tri-State University’s Zollner golf course. Saint Mary’s finished behind Olivet, Tri-State, Hope, Albion and Kalamazoo.

The Comets won the tournament with a total score of 1061. They will advance to the NCAA Championships held May 8-11 at El Campeon Golf Course at Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.

But for Saint Mary’s, there was reason for hope.

“The team came with a good attitude, ready to play,” Belles coach Mark Hamilton said. “The outlook for next year is very good.”

Shooting a team-best 80 and making 10 pars, captain Katie O’Brien placed fourth overall for individual shooters. The race for first was close, as she finished only five strokes worse than Albion’s Elizabeth Kreger, the medalist for Tuesday’s round.

“She has no major weaknesses,” Hamilton said of O’Brien.

Sophomore Meridith Fantom followed O’Brien, firing a 93, and placing 19th for individual shooters. Perri Hamma shot a 103, placing 30th. Meaghan Fontein returned to MIAA play after a semester abroad in Rome by scoring a 106, placing 32nd.

In the final few weeks of the school year, the team will continue practicing and training for next fall, although the schedule will work around the players’ finals.

Although competitive play is over, the team remains enthusiastic. Fantam said the Belles hope to compete for a national title in coming years.

“We are all very excited to be one of the top competitors in the fall next year,” Fantom said.