Belles Set Tone for MIAA NCAA Qualifier

Results (pdf)

HOLLAND, Mich. - The Saint Mary's golf team fired a 324 and holds a 21-stroke lead after the first of three 18-hole rounds which will determine the conference's recipient of the automatic qualifying bid to the 2012 NCAA Championships.

The Belles claimed their first win of the 2011-12 season by 21 strokes over second place No. 21 Olivet (345) and 26 strokes over host Hope (350).

Saint Mary's own Doyle O'Brien was the medalist at the event. The sophomore shot an even-par 71 (34-37), which included an eagle on the afternoon. Classmate Paige Pollak finished second with the only other sub-80 round of 77 (39-38).

Natalie Matuszak and Janice Heffernan tied each other for ninth place with matching scores of 88 on the day to wrap up the 324 team score. Christine Brown was the fifth scoring-eligible golfer for Saint Mary's and shot a 90 (t-12th).

The Belles will have more than a week to prepare for the final two rounds of play that will determine the automatic qualifier from the MIAA. Fall champion Olivet will host rounds on Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28 at the Medalist Golf Club in Marshall, Michigan. The team with the lowest three-round score will earn the automatic spot in May's NCAA Division III Championship.