HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Senior Alice Chen (-2) is tied for fourth to lead the ninth-ranked Furman women's golf team to a share of fifth place following the first day of play Friday at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate at the par 71, 6,160 yard Long Cove Club's Pete Dye Course in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Chen, who started on hole No. 10, recorded three birdies on the back to make the turn at 3-under, then added a birdie on the front to finish the day with a 69, three strokes back of leader Olivia Mehaffey (-5) of Arizona State. Mehaffey, who is ranked 17th nationally, carded six birdies on the day to take the lead.
Sophomore Natalie Srinivasan (+2) scored three-straight birdies on No. 1 through No. 3 to tie for 23rd with an opening round 73, while senior Jacqueline Bendrick (+3) is tied for 32nd after carding a 74 with birdies on No. 2 and No. 12 in Friday's round. Junior Haylee Harford (+5) and senior Reona Hirai (+5) are tied for 53rd after each shot an opening-round 76. Harford birdied No. 5, and Hirai recorded a birdie on No. 3.
Six of the nation's top 10 teams are competing in the tournament this weekend. Second-ranked Alabama (+2) holds a one-stroke lead over No. 13 Northwestern (+3), while third-ranked Arkansas (+6) is four strokes back of Alabama in third. LSU (+7) is in fourth, just one stroke ahead of the Paladins (+8) and Mississippi State (+8), who are tied for fifth. No. 6 Arizona State (+9), the defending NCAA Champions, and 33rd-ranked North Carolina (+9) are tied for seventh.
The 54-hole tournament will continue on Saturday. Teams will tee off of No. 1 and No. 10 beginning at 8:30 a.m. Furman will tee off of No. 1 beginning at 9:20 a.m. and will play in a group with LSU and Mississippi State. Admission to the tournament is free and fans are welcome. Results and live tournament scoring are available via www.FurmanPaladins.com and www.golfstat.com.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
T5 Furman 292 +8
T4 Alice Chen 69 -2
T23 Natalie Srinivasan 73 +2
T32 Jacqueline Bendrick 74 +3
T53 Haylee Harford 76 +5
T53 Reona Hirai 76 +5