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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
The Observer

SMC Golf: Team eager to begin conference season

Saint Mary's will begin its conference season this weekend against Alma at Pine River Country Club.

With two weeks off since their last match, the Belles have had an extended period of time for practicing and working on their weak spots. Not too many adjustments needed to be made, however, as the Belles dominated in their first appearance of the year in the Trine Invitational, with four of the five top scores for the weekend carded by Saint Mary's players.

The squad, however, aims to avoid complacency and instead get better.

"We've made some changes in our mechanics," Belles coach Mark Hamilton said. "And I want our players to be mentally prepared."

Because this is only the second match of the year, the younger players still need to garner trust in themselves as well as trust in their teammates and their coaches, Hamilton said.

Another challenge that awaits the Belles is unfamiliarity. Saint Mary's has not faced Alma at Pine River since 2002. In fact, no one in the MIAA has played on that course in as many years. So, in that sense, the Belles are in the same position as the rest of the conference.

"Nobody has seen that golf course," Hamilton said. "It'll be a clean slate."

Saturday will be the first opportunity for Saint Mary's to reestablish itself as the premier program in the MIAA. Last year, the Belles finished the season at No. 8 in the country, a spot they would like to return to or even surpass this year. Hamilton has supreme confidence in his team's ability to do just that, starting with this weekend's event.

"My expectations are that we're going to win, to be quite honest," Hamilton said. "We're going to be the team to beat."

In the MIAA season, points are accumulated over the six conference matches. Therefore, the team's consistent performance across the schedule will be more important than going out and being better than the one opponent they are facing each weekend.

"Every round counts," Hamilton said.

The Belles will tee off against Alma at 1 p.m. Saturday at Pine River Country Club.