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Furman's Hirai Wins Carolinas Young Amateur Championship

Reona Hirai
Reona Hirai

PINEHURST, N.C. -- Furman's Reona Hirai (-7) captured individual medalist honors at the 9th Carolinas Young Amateur Championship Friday at the 5,796 yard, par 72 Pinewild Country Club's Magnolia Course in Pinehurst, N.C.

Hirai, a senior from Summerville, S.C., carded rounds of 70 and 67 to win the tournament by nine strokes over runner-ups Jodee Tindall of Rock Hill and Kelli Murphy of Elgin.  The championship was contested on Thursday and Friday under bitterly cold conditions with greens that were frozen at times.

"This tournament was played under tough conditions on a tough course," said Paladin head coach Jeff Hull.  "For Reona to shoot 70 and 67 with no bogeys is just incredible.  This shows just how hard she has been working to be prepared for the upcoming spring." 

Hirai, a two-time All-Southern Conference selection, currently ranks third on the Furman team with a 73.6 stroke average over 11 rounds during the fall season.  She scored top-20 finishes at both the Lady Paladin Invitational in September and at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate in October.  Hirai went on to tie for 24th at the Betsy Rawls Invitational, also in October.  

"It was great to play in these frigid conditions in order to gain some experience as I prepare for our spring season, since we begin play in February," said Hirai following the tournament.

The Carolinas Young Amateur Championship was open to golfers aged 18 to 25 who have finished high school, are legal residents of South Carolina or North Carolina, and are a member in good standing of a club which is a member of the Carolinas Golf Association (CGA).

Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information