GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Furman women's golf team will open the 2015 spring season this weekend at the second annual Florida State Match-Up Tournament at the par 72, 6,314 yard Southwood Golf Course in Tallahassee, Fla.
The 54-hole tournament, which features four teams ranked in the top 25 and seven teams among the top 50 in the latest Golfstat rankings, begins Friday at 8:30 a.m. Second round play will tee off Saturday at 8:30 a.m., and the tournament will conclude Sunday at 8:30 a.m.
The 27th-ranked Paladins will be joined in the field by #1 South Carolina, #9 Mississippi State, #13 Texas A&M, #15 Virginia, #46 Coastal Carolina, #47 Florida State, Missouri, Georgia State, ETSU, Troy, and Kennesaw State.
The teams will tee-off in twosomes, consisting of partners playing together: Furman/Coastal Carolina, Florida State/Texas A&M, South Carolina/Virginia, Mississippi State/Missouri, Georgia State/ETSU, and Troy/Kennesaw State.
The Paladins' lineup includes sophomore Taylor Totland, junior Valentina Romero, and freshmen Alice Chen, Reona Hirai, and Jacqueline Bendrick. Totland led the Paladins with a 71.8 stroke average over 12 rounds during the 2014 fall season after firing a low round of 68 in the second round of the Lady Paladin Invitational and carding a 70 on three different occasions.
Romero recorded a 74.0 stroke average over 12 rounds, while Chen averaged 74.2 over the same 12 rounds. Hirai competed in nine rounds for the Paladins, averaging 75.3 strokes per round, while Bendrick, who only saw action in three rounds, ranked second on the team with a 73.0 stroke average.
Furman won its first two tournaments of the fall, the first two program victories under Hester. In the opening fall tournament, the Paladins tied the best round in school history with a 283 to win the Golfweek Program Challenge.
Later in the month, Furman swept the Lady Paladin Invitational honors in record-setting fashion, as Totland won individual medalist honors after scoring a three-round 209, the lowest 54-hole score in tournament history, and the Paladins' three-round total of 860 shattered the previous tournament low of 865. For their efforts, the Paladins were honored as the Golfweek Women's Team of the Week following the victory. Totland finished tenth at the Mercedes-Benz Intercollegiate then tied for fourth place individually to lead Furman to a third-place team finish at the Palmetto Intercollegiate to conclude the fall season.
"After a solid fall, I'm excited to get this group back into competition," said Furman head coach Kelley Hester, who is in her third year at the helm of the Paladin program. "We are teaming with Coastal Carolina, and it should be a fun week!"
Last year in her second season with the Paladins, Hester led the team to a second-place finish at the Southern Conference Championship. 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 Romero joined Totland on the all-conference team.
Admission to this weekend's tournament is free and fans are welcome. Live tournament scoring will also be available via www.golfstat.com.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information