EUGENE, Ore. -- Freshman Haylee Harford (-1) fired an opening round 71 to tie for 19th Friday at the 2016 NCAA Championships at the par 72, 6,369 yard Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore. The 19th-ranked Paladins(+10) concluded the day tied for 18th.
Harford, the 2016 SoCon Freshman of the Year, recorded four birdies, including three in her last seven holes, to finish the round three back of leaders Haley Moore (-4) of Arizona and Purdue's August Kim (-4), who each carded an opening-round 68.
Sophomore Alice Chen (+3), the 2016 SoCon Co-Player of the Year, also added four birdies, including three in five holes from No. 10 through No. 14, to score a 75 and tie for 69th. Junior Taylor Totland (+4) notched three birdies in the first seven holes, carding a 76 to finish the round in a tie for 85th with sophomore Jacqueline Bendrick (+4) and senior Valentina Romero (+4). Bendrick, who eagled the par-5 No. 7, added a birdie on No. 14, while Romero birdied No. 17.
Eighth-ranked Oklahoma State (-4) leads the field after recording an opening-round 284. No. 3 UCLA (-2) is second, and second-ranked Southern California (+1) and No. 13 Washington (+1) are tied for third after the first round. Tenth-ranked Arizona completes the top five. Furman, sixth-ranked Georgia (+10), and No. 38 North Carolina (+10) are tied for 18th.
"Today wasn't quite the start we were hoping for, but we are just five shots outside the top 10," 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. "This is a demanding championship course, and I believe we will play it better the more time we have on it."
The Paladins, who will tee off of No. 10 at noon PT on Saturday in a group with No. 20 Oregon and No. 21 Tennessee, are part of a 24-team field that is playing under the NCAA Championship's revised format, which was instituted last year. The teams will play 54 holes of stroke play over the course of three days, beginning Friday and continuing through Sunday. The top 15 teams will then play one additional round of stroke play on Monday, May 23. The top eight teams at the end of Monday's round will move into the match-play single elimination bracket. Tuesday will feature the quarterfinals and semifinals, and the finals will be played Wednesday afternoon.
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., finished fourth at the NCAA Bryan Regional to earn a berth at the NCAA Championship. 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 Championships is available at www.golfstat.com or by logging onto www.furmanpaladins.com. The Golf Channel will provide unprecedented prime time coverage of the NCAA Women's Golf Championships. Twelve and a half hours of live event programming will be shown starting on Monday, May 23, and concluding with the match play finals on Wednesday afternoon.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
T18 Furman 298 +10
T19 Haylee Harford 71 -1
T69 Alice Chen 75 +3
T85 Taylor Totland 76 +4
T85 Jacqueline Bendrick 76 +4
T85 Valentina Romero 76 +4