GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Furman men's and women's golf teams will open the 2014-15 season this weekend at the Golfweek Program Challenge at True Blue Plantation and Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in Pawleys Island, S.C.
The 54-hole tournament, which includes a women's stroke play tournament at Caledonia Golf & Fish Club and a men's competition at True Blue Plantation begins Sunday and continues through Tuesday. Play will begin at 7:30 a.m. each day. Furman will be joined in the 12-team field by Akron, Campbell, Gardner-Webb, Houston Baptist, Jacksonville State, Jacksonville, James Madison, Northern Iowa, Old Dominion, Stetson, and Valparaiso.
The Lady Paladin lineup includes rookie Alice Chen, junior Valentina Romero, senior Laura DeMarco, freshman Jacqueline Bendrick, and sophomore Taylor Totland.
"We are excited to be making our first trip to the Golfweek Program Challenge alongside the Furman men's team," said Furman women's golf head coach Kelley Hester, who is entering her third year at the helm of the Paladin program. "This tournament provides a unique format in which the men and women get to compete for a "team" award. This contest should be a great way to start the year and features a field in which we should be very competitive. I look forward to seeing where our team stands with the addition of a strong freshmen and class and solid returners in Taylor, Valentina, and Laura."
Last year in her second season with the Paladins, Hester led the team to a second-place finish at the Southern Conference Championship. Furman rookie Taylor Totland placed second among all individuals at the league championship tournament, earning Southern Conference Freshman of the Year honors and claiming a spot on both the All-Southern Conference team and the SoCon All-Freshman team. The Paladins placed four individuals among the top 10 at the championship and sophomore Valentina Romero joined Totland on the all-conference team.
The Furman men's lineup will feature juniors Preston Heyward and Preston Cole, senior Michael Borton, sophomore Bryce Howell, and freshman Adam Garrett. Borton led the Paladins with a ninth-place individual finish at last year's SoCon Championship, while Howell claimed a spot on the SoCon All-Freshman team after placing 12th in the tournament.
"We are all excited to get the season started," said Paladin men's head coach Todd Satterfield, now in his 19th year at Furman. "Our guys have continued to improve throughout the summer, and we are looking to have a great event."
Admission to the tournament is free and fans are welcome. Live tournament scoring will also be available via www.golfstat.com.
Both Furman golf programs are participating in the Folds of Honor Military Tribute Program this season, where each team's low qualifier will carry a golf bag displaying the name, rank and branch of service of a wounded warrior who is also a Furman alumni. At the end of the season, the bags will be auctioned off and the proceeds will go to Folds of Honor.
This week Chen will carry the bag for the women's team which honors Army Captain Nathan Wayne Waldon, who attended Furman from 2000-2004 on an Army ROTC scholarship. After completion of Ranger School, Waldon was assigned as the 1st platoon leader for 3rd ID, 3BDE, 2/69 Armor BN, Bravo Company, and in early 2007, the Brigade deployed to Iraq in support of the US military surge in the region. On July 11, 2007, Captain Waldon's Humvee was hit by an explosive device that destroyed the vehicle and also Waldon's right leg above the knee.
Heyward will carry the men's bag this week, honoring Major Ken Dwyer. Dwyer earned a degree in Health and Exercise Science from Furman in 1998. Dwyer was injured by an enemy Rocket Propelled Grenade in August of 2006 on his third combat deployment to Afghanistan. The blast injury resulted in the loss of his left hand, left eye and significant vascular and neurological damage to his face, throat, and right arm. After his recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Dwyer returned to 3rd SFG (A) and served as the 1st Battalion, 3rd SFG (A) assistant operations officer, the 3rd SFG (A) Headquarters Company Commander, USASFC (A) G3 Chief of Readiness and the 3rd SFG (A) Group Support Company Commander. Dwyer remains on Airborne status and returned to Afghanistan as a Company Commander with 3rd SFG (A) in 2012.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information