RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sophomore Taylor Totland (E) tied for fifth and qualified for the NCAA Championships to lead the 28th-ranked Furman women's golf team Saturday in the final round of the NCAA East Regional in Raleigh N.C., at the par-72, 6,381 yard Lonnie Poole Golf Club.
Totland, who is ranked 19th nationally, teed off of No. 10 and birdied three of her last four holes on the back then stretched her score to 4-under with a birdie on No. 3. Despite a tough final three holes, she finished the round even to conclude the tournament eight strokes back of second-ranked Madelene Sagstrom (-8) of LSU, who fired a 68 in the opening round and added a 70 in each of the final two rounds to earn individual medalist honors.
Totland qualified for the NCAA Championship, which will be held May 22-27 at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., by placing second among individuals who did not qualify for the championship as a part of a team. Lena Schaeffner of Coastal Carolina and Karolina Vlckova from Florida also move on from the East Regional.
Freshman Reona Hirai (+12) carded a 74 with two birdies in the final round to tie for 43rd, while senior Laura DeMarco (+14) tied for 55th after scoring a 76 with three birdies on Saturday. Junior Valentina Romero (+14) carded one birdie on the front and one on the back for a 79 in the final round, tying for 72nd, while freshman Alice Chen (+19) tied for 75th after scoring a 76 with three birdies, including consecutive birdies on No. 1 and 2 in Saturday's final round of play.
Second-ranked South Carolina (+13) won the regional by eight strokes over fifteenth-ranked Northwestern (+21). No. 42 N.C. State (+23) took third place, while No. 31 Alabama (+24) and No. 7 LSU (+24) tied for fourth. Campbell (+28) completed the top six teams who advance to the NCAA Championships. The Paladins (+40) tied with No. 34 Iowa State (+40) for tenth place.
"I am really proud of Taylor for continuing her great year with a strong finish at the regional," said Furman head coach Kelley Hester, the 2015 SoCon Coach of the Year, who is in her third year at the helm of the Paladin program. "I'm glad she is going to have the opportunity to play at the NCAA finals, because she is among the best players in the country, and this will be a well-deserved opportunity to play against the best in the nation.
"While our team fell short of moving on to the finals, our young team gained valuable experience this week that will pay huge dividends down the road," added Hester. "We have had a great year, and I am proud of the progress we have made. I think our success this year indicates that our program is headed in the right direction."
Furman, who secured the Southern Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by capturing its 14th SoCon Championship two weeks ago at Savannah Quarters Golf Club in Savannah, Ga., made its 19th NCAA Regional appearance and the program's first since 2010. The Paladins appeared in 18-straight regionals from 1993, when the regional format began, until 2010. The Paladins last reached the NCAA Championship in 2008, when Furman claimed an eighth place finish at the NCAA East Regional in Athens, Ga., to advance to the NCAA Championship in Albuquerque, N.M.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
T10 Furman 298 308 298 904 +40
T5 Taylor Totland 70 74 72 216 E
T43 Reona Hirai 79 75 74 228 +12
T55 Laura DeMarco 75 79 76 230 +14
T72 Valentina Romero 75 80 79 234 +18
T75 Alice Chen 78 81 76 235 +19