GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Junior Haylee Harford (-3) and senior Reona Hirai (+3) each fired a 70 as the Furman women's golf team (+1) surged into second place Saturday at the 45th-annual Lady Paladin Invitational at the par-72, 6,278-yard Furman University Golf Course in Greenville, S.C.
Harford, a native of Leavittsburg, Ohio, notched four birdies, including three on the back nine, to move into a tie for second place with senior Alice Chen (-3), who carded a 71 with birdies on No. 2 and No. 4. The Paladin duo is six strokes back of Daytona State's Jiwon Jeon (-9), who boasts a two-day total of 64-71=135.
Hirai, who hails from Summerville, S.C., recorded a team-high five birdies, including back-to-back birdies on No. 6 and No. 7, to tie for 19th, and senior Jacqueline Bendrick (+5) scored a 73 with four birdies, including consecutive birdies on No. 4 and No. 5, to tie for 27th heading into Sunday's final round. Sophomore Natalie Srinivasan (+6) is tied for 33rd after posting a 74 on Saturday.
Rookie Madison Moosa (+7) leads all individuals after two rounds and is tied for 40th after notching a 78 with a birdie on No. 18. Freshman Caitlin Cotterill (+12) scored a 76 with birdies on No. 11 and No. 18 to tie for 66th, while sophomore Marra Burton (+9) is tied for 80th after birdieing No. 5 for an 80 on Saturday.
The Paladins led the field with a 284 on Saturday, trimming Daytona State's (-3) led to four strokes. Middle Tennessee State (+7) is in third, while Kennesaw State (+11) and Virginia Tech (+11) are tied for fifth place entering the final round of play.
The 54-hole tournament will conclude with a 9 a.m. shotgun start on Sunday. Furman will tee off of holes one through three and play in a group with Daytona State and Middle Tennessee State. Admission to the tournament is free and fans are welcome. Results and live tournament scoring are available via www.FurmanPaladins.com and www.birdiefire.com.
For the third time, the teams at this year's tournament are participating in Birdies for Water to benefit Golf Fore Africa, a 501 (c)(3) founded in 2006 by Furman golf alumna and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King. To date GFA has raised over 2.5 million dollars to fund projects in Rwanda, Lesotho, Kenya, Mali, Niger, and Zambia. Currently Golf Fore Africa is raising two million dollars to bring clean water, improved sanitation, and hygiene education to over 100 villages in rural Zambia.
Each team at the tournament has been invited to raise money by securing flat donations and pledges for each birdie their team members record during the tournament, with a goal of raising $30,000. In 2015, teams at the Lady Paladin Invitational raised almost $30,000, with the Furman team raising over $10,000, eclipsing the tournament goal of $15,000, the amount needed to bring clean water, improved sanitation, and hygiene education to one village.
To sponsor the Furman women's golf team in this endeavor, go to https://4agc.com/fundraiser_pages/f11aee2d-5061-475b-8cc7-73c5c82827a2#.WbAaPtOGPBJ or e-mail Furman assistant coach Laura DeMarco at Laura.DeMarco@Furman.edu.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
2 Furman 293 284 577 +1
T2 Alice Chen 70 71 141 -3
T2 Haylee Harford 71 70 141 -3
T19 Reona Hirai 77 70 147 +3
T27 Jacqueline Bendrick 76 73 149 +5
T33 Natalie Srinivasan 76 74 150 +6
T40 Madison Moosa* 73 78 151 +7
T66 Caitlin Cotterill* 80 76 156 +12
T80 Marra Burton* 81 80 161 +17
* - playing as an individual