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SMC Golf: Belles finish sixth in Spring Fling

Alex Barker | Monday, April 21, 2008

Saint Mary’s placed sixth in Illinois-Wesleyan’s Spring Fling this weekend – a strong finish leaving the Belles optimistic as they head into next weekend’s MIAA qualifier finale.

“We played a pretty good tournament this weekend,” Belles coach Mark Hamilton said.

“We beat a number of higher ranked teams and shot our best 36-hole score of the season.”

Leading the team for the fourth consecutive tournament was freshman Rosie O’Connor. O’Connor shot a 78 on the final day posting the fourth best score of the day and finished 17th overall.

Senior captain Katie O’Brien also took 17th place overall posting scores of 80 and 83 for a total of 163.

With this tournament out of the way, Saint Mary’s will turn their focus to the MIAA qualifier next weekend in Angola, Ind.

The Belles are currently 18 strokes behind rival Olivet with two rounds remaining.

The Belles have shown great strides since the first round took place just a few weeks ago.

They have placed well in their last couple of tournaments including a second-place finish at the Vassar Invitational and their sixth place finish this weekend at the Spring Fling.

The Belles will head into the last two rounds of the qualifier equipped with a new feeling of confidence.

“We tied Olivet on the final day of play this weekend,” Hamilton said. “So we have shown that we can play with them and hopefully we will do so next weekend.”

If the Belles do not grab the top spot and automatic qualification for the national tournament, they will be thrown into a separate pool and forced to rely on a selection committee to choose them based on head-to-head competition among the other teams.

However, Hamilton is not ready to hand the qualification spot to Olivet just yet.

“Our best is yet to come,” Hamilton said. “There is no reason it can’t happen next weekend.”