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SMC Golf: Belles look to surpass Olivet in last tourney

Casey Karnes | Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Saint Mary’s will wrap up its fall season this weekend at the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) End of Season Weekend Jamboree at Bedford Valley.
Olivet will host the event, and is currently leading the MIAA with a season score of 1294. The Belles trail in second place by 52 strokes. The Comets have won all four prior MIAA Jamborees behind seniors Adrienne Plourde and Theresa Damico. Plourde finished second overall at the fourth MIAA Jamboree at Zolner Golf Course, and her performance led Olivet to a first place finish with a score of 320.
After seeing her team finish second to Olivet four straight times, Belles coach Kim Moore said she believes it will take a consistent effort from the entire team for a Belles victory.
“We’re right there, its just a matter of getting four consistent scores,” Moore said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the number one player or the number five player, your score helps the team no matter where you’re at.”
After finishing at least 12 strokes back in the previous three MIAA tournaments, the Belles closed the gap a bit last weekend at Zolner, shooting a season-best 329. Two Belles finished in the top-five. Freshman Ali Mahoney (76) finished third place individually, and senior Paige Pollak (77) finished fourth. Moore said that the season-best performance would be a boon to her players heading into their final tournament of the fall.
“I think it just gives them confidence that we can put a couple good scores in there,” Moore said. “Based on those results, we can be close to beating Olivet.”
Mahoney’s performance in last weekend’s event was her career best, and broke a streak of high-scoring outings. After shooting an 81 in her first round of the season, Mahoney shot 88 or higher in five straight rounds before last weekend’s 75. Moore said she credited the freshman’s practice habits for her improvement, and to continue playing at a high level, Mahoney must hone her putting game.
“She had a good couple weeks of practice, and she really improved on her putting,” Moore said. “[Last weekend] was her best putting performance of the year. It really shows that when you’re making puts, your scores tend to drop. It was really a reflection on her preparation.”
In addition to Mahoney and Pollak, who lead the Belles with an average score of 80.6 on the season, Moore said Saint Mary’s will need sophomore Sammie Averill, senior Alexi Brown, junior Janice Heffernan and freshman Courtney Carlson to make an impact in their final two rounds. Moore said the team’s focus isn’t just on a victory, but also on improving and building confidence as they did in their previous tournaments.
“I really want us to go in there and take the confidence we have from the previous tournament,” Moore said. “Hopefully we can add to our performance and it would be nice to get another low score in there, which I think we can.”
The Belles will play their final two rounds of the season at the MIAA End of Season Weekend Jamboree at Bedford Valley Golf Course, teeing off at 1 p.m. Friday and 11 p.m. Saturday.
Contact Casey Karnes at [email protected]