AUGUSTA, GA. -- Sophomore Alice Chen (-3) fired a 69 on Friday to tie for the individual lead and help the 33rd-ranked Furman women's golf team to a share of the team lead at the 3M Augusta Invitational at the par 72, 6,246 yard Forest Hills Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.
Chen, a native of Princeton, N.J., scored a team-best five birdies on Friday, including back-to-back birdies on No. 17 and No. 18, to finish the opening round in a tie for the lead with Jessica Haigwood of Augusta.
The Paladins (+2) are tied for the lead with East Tennessee State (+2), while 35th-ranked East Carolina (+7) is in third. Kennesaw Sate (+10) and No. 42 Augusta (+10) are tied for fifth, and 17th-ranked Florida State (+11) sits in sixth.
Junior Taylor Totland (-1) is tied for fourth after notching four birdies for an opening-round 71, and rookie Haylee Harford (+3), senior Valentina Romero (+3), and sophomore Jacqueline Bendrick (+3) are tied for 24th. Harford carded three birdies on the day, while Romero scored birdies on No. 5 and No. 7. Bendrick, who is playing as an individual, birdied No. 1. Sophomore Reona Hirai birdied No. 17 and is tied for 49th entering Saturday's play.
"Our team played really well today," said Furman head coach Kelley Hester. "Alice had a very solid round. The conditions were perfect, and the course was set up for scoring. We will go out there tomorrow and play 36 holes, and if we play the way we are capable of, hopefully we can have a good result at the end. Our goal is always to be in contention with nine holes to go, and that's what we will shoot for."
Due to predicted inclement weather in the Augusta area, the 54-hole tournament will conclude with 36 holes on Saturday. The second round will begin with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. and will be immediately followed by the final round.
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
T1 Furman 298 +2
T1 Alice Chen 69 -3
T4 Taylor Totland 71 -1
T24 Haylee Harford 75 +3
T24 Valentina Romero 75 +3
T49 Reona Hirai 77 +5
*T24 Jacqueline Bendrick 75 +3