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SMC Golf: Belles open fall season with a win

Matthew Robison | Monday, August 30, 2010

The Belles teed off strongly this weekend when they claimed first place at the Trine Fall Invitational at Zollner Golf Course with a combined score of 660.

Belles coach Mark Hamilton said he was pleased with his team’s performance in its first match of the fall season and with the consistency the players displayed.

“I expected the young players to score well, and for the most part, they did,” said Hamilton. “The older players were also steady.”

Senior Mary Kate Boyce led Saint Mary’s with a 79 Saturday and an 84 Sunday to finish third. Freshman Doyle O’Brien followed close behind, taking four strokes off her Saturday round to finish with an 80 Sunday, taking fourth while senior Rosie O’Connor finished fifth with scores of 84 and 82. Freshman Marin Beagley rounded out the Belles scoring with an 84 and 83 to tie for sixth. Sophomore Jessica Kinnick was the fifth scoring player for Saint Mary’s, coming out of the tournament with a two-day total of 188.

Also on the course for the Belles were freshman Alexi Brown (88-88, 9th), freshman Paige Pollak (88-92, 12th), junior Megan Ryan (91-95, 15th), freshman Hayley Miller (98-93, 18th) and junior Christine Brown (100-95, 22nd).

The Belles did not come away with a win because of weak competition, as they faced off against some of the top national programs in their division.

But, the top is where the Belles both want and expect to be. Last year, they finished 10th in Division III NCAA finals. Despite the relative youth of the squad — the team has five freshmen this season — it has the ability to do the same this season.

Hamilton also emphasized the need for further development of the coach-player relationship. With five new freshmen, he said this means five new players must learn where they work into the team dynamics across both the fall and spring seasons. Come next semester, Hamilton said he hopes to see the squad come together.

Hamilton said he was pleased with his team’s mental toughness.

“We did a better job making decisions,” he said.

Hamilton also said the season is a learning experience, and that the Belles’ performance this weekend reveals their willingness to make necessary adjustments, both on and off the course.

The team continues to prepare for their conference season, which will begin Sept. 11 when the Belles travel to Alma for the first fall MIAA competition at Pine River Golf Course.