AKRON, Ohio -- Junior Keller Harper (-6) fired two rounds under par to tie for second, while Furman (-5) placed three players in the top 24 to tie for third following the first day of the Firestone Invitational at the par 72, 7,125 yard Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
A native of Atlanta, Ga., Harper, who won individual medalist honors at last week's River Run Collegiate, has been under par in his last six rounds, dating back to the Paladins' first tournament of the 2018 fall season. In Monday's action, he carded six birdies and eagled the par-5 No. 5 for an opening-round 70 then scored a 68 with five birdies and an eagle on the par-5 No. 16 in round two. He enters Tuesday's final round one stroke back of Winthrop's Ryan Tattan, who scored rounds of 69 and 68 on Monday.
Senior Connor Bruns (E) and freshman Owen Burden (E) are tied for 24th. Bruns shot an even 72 in both rounds, tallying birdies on No. 3 and No. 18 in the morning round then scoring four birdies on the front nine in the afternoon round, including birdies on three out of four holes from No. 4 through No. 7. Burden notched a 70 with five birdies, including three birdies between No. 12 through No. 15, in round one and added a 74 with a birdie on No. 1 and consecutive birdies on No. 14 and No. 15 in round two.
Senior Scott Purvis (+1) carded a 74 with birdies on No. 5 and No. 15 in round one then rebounded with a 71 with three birdies in the afternoon to tie for 32nd, while junior Matt Lehman (+4) scored a 74 in each round to tie for 48th. Lehman recorded three birdies on the front in round two, including back to back birdies on No. 3 and No. 4.
Ohio (-12) leads the field by two strokes over Connecticut (-10). The Paladins (-5) are tied for third with host Akron (-5), and Illinois State (-4) completes the top five.
Furman will tee off of No. 1 beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the final round of the 54-hole tournament and will play in a group with Ohio and Connecticut. Admission is free and fans are welcome. Results and live tournament scoring are available via www.FurmanPaladins.com and www.golfstat.com.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
T3 Furman 286 285 571 -5 -
T2 Keller Harper 70 68 138 -6
T24 Connor Bruns 72 72 144 E
T24 Owen Burden 70 74 144 E
T32 Scott Purvis 74 71 145 +1
T48 Matt Lehman 74 74 148 +4