KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Furman freshman Reona Hirai (-2) fired a 70 Sunday to tie for fourth place individually and propel the Paladins into second place in the opening round of play at the Palmetto Intercollegiate at the par 72, 5,972 yards Turtle Point Golf Course in Kiawah Island, S.C.
Hirai birdied three holes on the front to make the turn at two-under then birdied No. 13 to finish the day two strokes behind leader Eunice Yi (-4) of GRU Augusta, who carded a 68 in Sunday's opening round.
Coastal Carolina (-6) holds a three-stroke lead over the 30th-ranked Paladins (-3), who carded a 285 in Sunday's round. No. 25 GRU August (E) and No. 39 Kansas (E) are three strokes behind Furman, while No. 42 Kansas State (+10) rounds out the top five teams.
"Today was an ideal day for scoring, and we did a really good job taking advantage of it," said Furman head coach Kelley Hester, who is in her third year at the helm of the Paladin program. "We had a solid team effort and kept ourselves in position. It should be fun to compete over the next few days and finish the fall on a high note."
Paladin sophomore Taylor Totland (-1) and junior Valentina Romero (-1) are tied for seventh entering Monday's round. Totland birdied three holes on the front, including scoring back-to-back birdies on No. 5 and No. 6, then added three additional birdies on the back to finish with a one-under 71, while Romero birdied two on the front and one on the back for a 71.
Freshman Alice Chen (+1) is tied for 14th after opening the round with consecutive birdies on the first two holes and carding a 73, and senior Laura DeMarco (+6) shot a 78 with a birdie on No. 15 to tie for 56th entering the second round.
Furman will tee off of No. 10 Monday beginning at 11:12 a.m. to open the second round play. The 54-hole tournament will conclude on Tuesday with an 8:45 a.m. shotgun start. 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
2 Furman 285 -3
T4 Reona Hirai 70 -2
T7 Taylor Totland 71 -1
T7 Valentina Romero 71 -1
T14 Alice Chen 73 +1
T56 Laura DeMarco 78 +6