BRYAN, Texas -- With three players in the top 20, the 19th-ranked Furman women's golf team is in fourth place following two rounds of the NCAA Bryan Regional in Bryan, Texas, at the par-72, 6,373 yard Traditions Golf Course.
Rookie Haylee Harford (-3), the 2016 SoCon Freshman of the Year, scored three consecutive birdies on No. 10, 11, and 12 to finish the round with a 2-under 70 to tie for ninth, six strokes behind UCLA's Bronte Law (-9), who fired a 66 on Friday to take the individual lead at 69-66=135.
Sophomore Alice Chen (-2), the 2016 SoCon Co-Player of the Year, added a team-high six birdies, including three-straight from No. 6 through No. 8, for a second-round 70 and is tied for 16th place entering Saturday's final round. Junior Taylor Totland (E) fired a 71 with five birdies, including two sets of back-to-back birdies, to tie for 20th. Sophomore Jacqueline Bendrick (+4) birdied No. 3 and No. 5 for a 76 to tie for 42nd, and senior Valentina Romero (+9) notched birdies on No. 10 and No. 13 to tie for 67th with a second-round 75.
Eleventh-ranked Arizona (-8) is tied for the lead with third-ranked UCLA (-8), who led the field with a nine-under 279 on Saturday. No. 6 Georgia (-7) is in third, followed by the Paladins (-2) in fourth. No. 29 Texas (+1) completes the top five, while 43rd-ranked Miami (+2) is in sixth entering the final round
"The girls showed a lot of grit today," said Furman head coach Kelley Hester, the 2016 SoCon Coach of the Year, who is in her fourth year at the helm of the Paladin program. "Two-under par on this golf course is a great round, and it leaves us just six shots out of the lead heading into the final round. We had a total team effort today, and I'm really proud of our players."
The Paladins, who will tee off of No. 1 at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, are part of an 18-team regional field that is battling for a top six finish and a berth in the 24-team NCAA Championship, which is set to be held May 20-25 at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore. The Bryan Regional field includes six of the top 25 teams in the country led by third-ranked UCLA, No. 6 Georgia, No. 11 Arizona, No. 14 Kent State, No. 19 Furman, and No. 23 Texas A&M.
Furman, who secured the Southern Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by capturing its 15th SoCon Championship last month at Savannah Quarters Golf Club in Savannah, Ga., is making its second-consecutive and 19th overall NCAA Regional appearance. The Paladins appeared in 17-straight regionals from 1993, when the regional format began, until 2010. Furman tied for 10th at last season's NCAA East Regional in Raleigh.
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.
Live scoring of the NCAA Bryan Regional is available at www.golfstat.com or by logging onto www.furmanpaladins.com.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
4 Furman 288 286 574 -2
T9 Haylee Harford 71 70 141 -3
T16 Alice Chen 72 70 142 -2
T20 Taylor Totland 73 71 144 E
T42 Jacqueline Bendrick 72 76 148 +4
T67 Valentina Romero 78 75 153 +9