TALLAHASSEE, FLA. -- Sophomore Taylor Totland (+1) and freshman Alice Chen (+1) each fired a 73 to tie for sixth place as the 26th-ranked Furman women's golf team opened the 2015 spring season Friday at the third annual Florida State Match-Up Tournament at the par 72, 6,236 yard Southwood Golf Course in Tallahassee, Fla.
Totland, a native of Tinton Falls, N.J, birdied No. 2 and No. 7 to make the turn at one under then was two over on the back to conclude the round one over par. Chen, who hails from Princeton, N.J., was even on the front then notched three consecutive birdies on No. 13, 14, and 15 to finish the day tied with Totland. The Paladin duo is four strokes back of leader Bianca Fabrizio (-3) of Texas A&M, who shot a 69 to open the tournament.
Paladin freshman Reona Hirai (+5) was even on the front and tied for 35th place with a 77, while rookie Jacqueline Bendrick (+6) birdied No. 7 and No. 12 to tie for 44th place after carding a 78. Junior Valentina Romero (+7) enters Saturday's second round tied for 52nd place after shooting a 79 on Friday.
#2 South Carolina (+4) leads #9 Mississippi State by four strokes after turning in a 292 in the opening round. #42 Coastal Carolina (+10) and Kennesaw State (+10) are tied for third, while #38 Florida State (+11) and #16 Texas A&M (+11) finished Friday's round tied for fifth. The Paladins (+13) are in ninth place after one day of competition, just three strokes back of the third-place teams.
"Today was not exactly our best, but there was a lot off good to take from our opening round," said Furman head coach Kelley Hester. "I am really proud of Taylor and Alice. They were both solid all day. Our other plays had a rough stretch but fought back. Now that the rust is knocked off, hopefully we can work our way up the board. There are a bunch of teams within a few strokes of us."
Second round play of 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 Saturday at 9 a.m. The tournament will conclude on Sunday at 9 a.m.
The Paladins tee off of No. 1 at 9:08 a.m. on Saturday. 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
9th Furman 301 +13
T6 Taylor Totland 73 +1
T6 Alice Chen 73 +1
T35 Reona Hirai 77 +5
T44 Jacqueline Bendrick 78 +6
T52 Valentina Romero 79 +7