POOLER, GA. – Defending Southern Conference champion Furman (+10) holds the team lead after Sunday's first round of play at the Southern Conference Women's Golf Championship at the par-72 6,087 yard Savannah Quarters Golf Club in Pooler, Ga.
Seeking their 15th title, the 22nd-ranked Paladins shot a 10-over 298 Sunday to hold a three-stroke lead over Chattanooga (+13). Furman has three players in the top five and its entire counting four in the top 13, including sophomore Alice Chen (-1), who leads the field after shooting the only sub-par round of the day, firing a 71 in the opening round.
Chen, the 2015 SoCon Freshman of the Year and tournament runner-up, led with field with 14 pars and added three birdies to counter a double-bogey on the par-4 seventh hole. The sophomore from Princeton, N.J., has shot par or better in all four of her career rounds at the league championship.
Senior Valentina Romero (+1) enter's Monday's play in second place after scoring a tournament-best five birdies, including back-to-back birdies on No. 4 and 5, to card an opening-round 73. Freshman Haylee Harford (+3) is tied for fifth after scoring a 75 with two birdies on Monday, and sophomore Jacqueline Bendrick (+7) is tied for 13th after carding three birdies, including consecutive birdies on No. 1 and 2 to open the round. Junior Taylor Totland (+8) is tied for 17th following one round of play.
"Today was a bit of a struggle for us," said Furman head coach Kelley Hester following the round. "We had an opposite wind from the practice round and the greens were firm and faster. We were slow to adjust but managed to hang in there. Alice's one-under par was really strong, as well as Val's one-over par."
Due to predicted inclement weather in the Pooler area on Tuesday, the teams will play 36 holes on Monday. Second round action is slated for a 9 a.m. shotgun start, with the final round to follow immediately at the conclusion of round two. The winner of the SoCon Championship will earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Fans can follow live scoring for the tournament by logging onto www.FurmanPaladins.com or at www.GolfStatResults.com.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
2016 Southern Conference Women's Golf Championship
Par-72, 6,087 yards
Top 10 individuals
1. Alice Chen, Furman 71
2. Valentina Romero, Furman 73
T3. Monica San Juan, Chattanooga 74
T3. Linda Dobele, ETSU 74
T5. Megan Woods, Chattanooga 75
T5. Haylee Harford, Furman 75
T7. Anna Buchanan, Samford 76
T7. Emily Uhland, Samford 76
T7. Vivienne Chin, ETSU 76
T7. Cristina Perez, Chattanooga 76
T7. Hee Ying Loy, ETSU 76
T7. Emily McLennan, Chattanooga 76
1. Furman 298
2. Chattanooga 301
3. ETSU 305
4. Samford 319
5. Wofford 324
T6. Mercer 325
T6. Western Carolina 325
8. UNCG 331
9. The Citadel 366
1 Furman 287 +12
1 Alice Chen 71 -1
2 Valentina Romero 73 +1
T5 Haylee Harford 75 +3
T13 Jacqueline Bendrick 79 +7
T17 Taylor Totland 80 +8