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Furman Wins 2015 SoCon Women's Golf Championship In Record Setting Fashion

2015 Southern Conference Champions
2015 Southern Conference Champions
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POOLER, GA. – Twenty-sixth ranked Furman (-6) posted a record-low 54-hole score of 858 to win the 2015 Southern Conference Women's Golf Championship Tuesday at the par-72 6,050 yard Savannah Quarters Golf Club in Pooler, Ga. 

With the win, Furman clinched the SoCon's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals. The NCAA field will be announced live on the Golf Channel during "Golf Central" from 6-7 p.m. on Monday, April 27.

Paladin sophomore Taylor Totland (-8) claimed individual medalist honors and was named the SoCon Player of the Year, while Furman rookie Alice Chen (-4) placed second and claimed SoCon Freshman of the Year honors.  Kelley Hester, in her third year at the helm of the Paladin program, was voted the league's coach of the year by her peers.  

Totland matched the tournament record with a 4-under 68 Tuesday and broke the 54-hole record with an 8-under 208.  Totland's 54-hole mark was four strokes better than the previous record, set in 2003 by Western Carolina's Brandy Andersen and matched by Chen this season.

Totland and Chen, playing in the final two pairings of the day, were tied at 4-under for the day and 8-under for the tournament heading into the final three holes.  Chen bogeyed 16 and 17 and double-bogeyed 18, while Totland bogeyed 16 before birdieing 17 and finishing with par on 18 to cap her record-breaking tournament.  Totland's bogey on 16 was her only blemish of the day, while all five of her birdies came on the back nine.  She trailed Chen by three strokes at the turn but birdied her first four holes of the back circuit to forge the tie atop the leaderboard.

The duo powered Furman to a 22-stroke win over runner-up and five-time defending champion Chattanooga, who finished second at 16-over-par 880 (294-288-298).  Furman, who set a single-round tournament record with a 289 in Sunday's first round and then lowered it with a 284 in Monday's second round, closed the tournament with a 3-under 285 to complete its wire-to-wire win.

The Paladins, who had three players finish in the top 10 and four in the top 13, shattered Western Carolina's tournament mark of 894, which had stood since 2003. The previous single-round record 291 was set by College of Charleston in 2006 and matched by Furman and UNCG in 2013.

Furman freshman Reona Hirai (+3) posted a top-10 finish by wrapping up play in a tie for ninth at 3-over 219 after firing a 2-under 70 on Tuesday with birdies on No. 11 and No. 18. Junior Valentina Romero (+5) tied for 13th at 221 (76-70-75), and senior Laura DeMarco (+8) placed 17th after carding a three-round 224 (74-75-75) with three birdies in the final round.

The SoCon title was the 14th for the Paladins as a team and first since 2009. Totland's individual title was also Furman's 14th and the first since Stefanie Kenoyer won consecutive crowns in 2008 and 2009.

"It was really exciting to see this team compete at such a high level this week," said Hester following the completion of the tournament.  "They have had an outstanding year already with three tournament wins coming into the SoCon Championship, and we would have advanced to the NCAA regionals regardless, but it is truly the icing on the cake to win and do so dominantly.  Taylor and Alice were the top two players in the league coming into the championship, but I am so proud of them for their 1-2 finish.  It was exciting to watch them battle it out.  This week was a great team effort with everyone contributing and all five players finishing in the top 17."

Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information

2015 Southern Conference Women's Golf Championship

Savannah Quarters

Par-72, 6,050 yards

Pooler, Ga.


Top 10 individuals

Pl    Player, team                                             R1        R2        R3        Total

1.     Taylor Totland, Furman                               71         69         68         208

2.     Alice Chen, Furman                                    70         70         72         212

3.     Emily McLennan, Chattanooga                   72         69         73         214

T4.   Kim Mitchell, Western Carolina                    72         74         70         216

T4.   Agathe Sauzon, Chattanooga                     73         71         72         216

T6.   Lela Oakley, Wofford                                 73         73         71         217

T6.   Bailey Gray, Samford                                 76         68         73         217

8.     Dominika Czudkova, ETSU                        75         71         72         218

T9.   Sammie Buchanan, UNCG                          75         74         70         219

T9.   Reona Hirai, Furman                                   74         75         70         219


Team standings

Pl    Team                                      R1       R2        R3       Total

1.     Furman                                    289     284       285     858

2.     Chattanooga                            294     288       298     880

3.     Samford                                  299     290       292     881

T4.   Wofford                                  302     293       296     891

T4.   Western Carolina                      298     302       291     891

6.     ETSU                                      303     296       295     894

7.     UNCG                                     313     307       301     921

8.     Mercer                                     305     306       312     923

9.     The Citadel                              326     323       317     966


SoCon Player of the Year

Taylor Totland, Furman


SoCon Freshman of the Year

Alice Chen, Furman


SoCon Coach of the Year

Kelley Hester, Furman


1 Furman 289 284 285 858 -6

1 Taylor Totland 71 69 68 208 -8

2 Alice Chen 70 70 72 212 -4

T9 Reona Hirai 74 75 70 219 +3

T13 Valentina Romero 76 70 75 221 +5

T17 Laura DeMarco 74 75 75 224 +8