KNOXVILLE, TENN. -- Furman sophomore Taylor Totland (-1) fired a 70 Friday to lead the field after the opening round of play at the Mercedes-Benz Intercollegiate at the par 71, 5,870 yards Cherokee Country Club in Knoxville, Tenn.
Totland parred the first five holes and made the turn at one-over then birdied No. 11 and No. 15 to finish the round at one-under, one stroke ahead of Laura Restrepo of Louisville, Alina Rogers of Missouri, and Kent State's Wad Phaewchimplee, who all carded an even 72 in the opening round of play.
No. 33 Kent State (+5) holds a four-stroke lead over 40th-ranked Louisville (+9) after shooting a five-over 289 on Friday. No. 21 UCF (+10) is in third place, while second-ranked South Carolina (+11) is in fourth place. The 11th-ranked Paladins (+15) are seventh in the team competition after one round of play.
"The wind picked up today, and I felt like the course played pretty tough," said Furman head coach Kelley Hester, who is in her third year at the helm of the Paladin program. "We were able to hang in there are piece together a decent round. Taylor continued her strong play, and Alice was impressive today, as well."
Paladin freshman Alice Chen (+2) is tied for 13th after birdieing No. 1 and No. 17 to card a two-over 73, while senior Laura DeMarco (+7) and freshman Reona Hirai (+7) each scored a 78 on Friday to tie for 53rd entering Saturday's second round. Junior Valentina Romero (+14) is tied for 85th following one round of play.
Furman will tee off of No. 1 Saturday at 9 a.m. to open the second round play. The 54-hole tournament will conclude on Sunday.
Admission to the tournament is free and fans are welcome. Live tournament scoring will also be available via www.golfstat.com.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
7 Furman 299 +15
1 Taylor Totland 70 -1
T13 Alice Chen 73 +2
T53 Laura DeMarco 78 +7
T53 Reona Hirai 78 +7
T85 Valentina Romero 85 +14