GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Junior Haylee Harford (-9) fired a career-best 66 to lead Furman (-7) to the team title Sunday 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, scored a team-best eight birdies, including four consecutive birdies from holes 13 through 16, to finish the tournament alone in second place, two strokes back of individual medalist Jiwon Jeon (-11) of Daytona State who shattered the tournament record with a three-day total of 64-71-70=205. The previous 54-hole record of 209 was established by Ashlan Ramsey of Clemson in 2013 and repeated by former Furman All-American Taylor Totland in 2014.
Furman, which placed all five players in the top-21, set a new tournament lowest single round record with a 280 on Sunday to win the tournament by 10 strokes over Daytona State (+3). Kennesaw State (+10) was third, followed by Middle Tennessee State (+11) in fourth. Memphis (+15) completed the top five.
Senior Alice Chen (-4) finished in a tie for fourth after scoring a 71 with birdies on No. 6 and No. 14 on Sunday, and senior Reona Hirai (+4) eagled the par-4 No. 1 for a final round 73 to tie for 19th. Senior Jacqueline Bendrick (+5) and sophomore Natalie Srinivasan (+5) tied for 21st. Bendrick notched four birdies, including back-to-back birdies on No. 2 and No. 3, for an even 72 in the final round, and Srinivasan also added four birdies to finish one-under with a 71 on Sunday.
Three Paladins played as individuals. Freshman Madison Moosa (+11) placed second among the individuals and 45th overall with birdies on No. 3 and No. 14 for a 76 on Sunday, and rookie Caittlin Cotterill (+14) finished in a tie for 69th after scoring a birdie on No. 11 for a final-round 77. Sophomore Marra Burton (+19) placed 74th with a career-best 74 after carding birdies on No. 3 and No. 11.
"It is so exciting to win the first tournament of the year at home," said Furman head coach Jeff Hull. " I am really proud of the way the team rallied after a rough start. Everyone contributed in a big way. Haley had a personal best 66 to finish alone in second place, and Alice closed out her Lady Paladin career with a tie for fourth. This is a great way to start the year."
Furman will compete at the Annika Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn., Oct. 1-2.
For the third time, the teams at this year's tournament participated 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 raised 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 [email protected].
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
1 Furman 293 284 280 857 -7
2 Haylee Harford 71 70 66 207 -9
T4 Alice Chen 70 71 71 212 -4
T16 Reona Hirai 77 70 73 220 +4
T21 Natalie Srinivasan 76 74 71 221 +5
T21 Jacqueline Bendrick 76 73 72 221 +5
T45 Madison Moosa* 73 78 76 227 +11
T69 Caitlin Cotterill* 80 76 77 233 +17
74 Marra Burton* 81 80 74 235 +19
* - playing as an individual