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SMC Golf: O’Brien leads Belles to conference tournament

Kate Arnold | Friday, April 20, 2007

The weather has finally decided to cooperate with the Belles.

After yet another delay, members of the Saint Mary’s squad will travel this weekend to Marshall, Mich., to compete in the two-day, 36-hole first round of the MIAA NCAA qualifying tournament. The first round was originally scheduled to start April 12, but was postponed due to poor weather conditions.

Last October, captain Katie O’Brien fired an 85, leading the team to a fourth-place finish in the fall MIAA NCAA Championships. After three 18-hole jamborees and an 18-hole tournament, the Belles finished with a total team score of 373, falling behind Olivet, Tri-State University and Albion. Each of those squads will compete again this weekend. Although Saint Mary’s has not beat Olivet yet this year, the team is anxious to prove themselves today.

Saint Mary’s has not played competitively since March 25, when it placed 19th in the Northern Kentucky Open. Belles coach Mark Hamilton said the three-week layoff will not have a positive effect on the team, but he is confident that the Belles will place well.

“This will be the easiest course we have played all spring,” Hamilton said. “The tournament will be won on the greens.”

The team has been working especially hard to eliminate wasted strokes on and near the putting surface.

The third and final qualifying round will be held April 24 at Tri-State University’s Zollnar golf course. The winning team after the three rounds will advance to the NCAA Championships, taking place May 8-11 at El Campeon Golf Course at the Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.