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SMC Golf: Team takes second at qualifier

Observer Staff Report | Thursday, April 18, 2013

Saint Mary’s quest for another NCAA Tournament berth started off on a positive note after the Belles took second place in the first MIAA NCAA Qualifier, hosted by Saint Mary’s at Blackthorn Golf Club.

It was a tough day for Saint Mary’s sophomore Janice Heffernan, who coming into the match was second in scoring average for the Belles. After carding a 79, 83 and 81 in her previous three rounds, Heffernan took a step back with a 95, which did not count toward the team score.

The rest of the Belles picked up the slack, though. Junior Paige Pollak, the Belles scoring average leader, used a strong back nine 39 and the Belles’ only birdie to card an 84, finishing fourth overall. Freshman Claire Boyle continued her consistent play with an 86, while junior Alexi Brown finished with an 89, good for sixth and seventh place, respectively. Senior Jessica Kinnick rounded out the team score with a 94, giving the Belles a final score of 353.

Despite strong performances from four Saint Mary’s golfers, there was no beating fall conference champion Olivet.

The Comets’ three fall all-MIAA team members swept the top three positions, finishing 23 strokes ahead of the Belles with a 330. Hope took third, eight strokes behind the Belles, and Calvin rounded out the field with a 370. The finishing order was identical to the fall MIAA Championship.

The Belles have two chances to narrow the gap with Olivet, as the team with the lowest scoring average after the three MIAA qualifiers receives the NCAA Tournament berth. Their first chance will come at the second NCAA qualifier April 26 at The Medalist Golf Club, hosted by Olivet.