SUNSET, S.C. -- Senior Reona Hirai (-9) fired a four-under 68 to take the individual lead and help the seventh-ranked Furman women's golf team to sole possession of first place following the second round of play Saturday at the Clemson Invitational at the par 72, 6,260 yard The Reserve at Lake Keowee in Sunset, S.C.
The Paladins (-26) established a new program low round record after leading the field with a 273 on Saturday. Furman's previous record of 277 was set last fall at the Annika Invitational and tied yesterday in the opening round of the Clemson Invitational.
Furman, which notched 25 birdies in each of the first two rounds, has all five players in the top 15 entering Sunday's final round, including Hirai, a native of Summerville, S.C., who recorded three birdies on the front and made the turn at two-under then added two additional birdies on the back to finish the round in the lead with a two-day total of 67-68=135.
Senior Alice Chen (-7) paced Furman with a 67 on Saturday to move into a tie for third. She posted a team-high six birdies, including three-straight birdies on holes No. 11 through 13 and had birdies on five out of her next six holes beginning with No. 11.
Sophomore Natalie Srinivasan (-6) carded a 69 for the second-straight day and is tied for seventh place. She recorded five birdies, including three-consecutive birdies from No. 6 through No. 8. Senior Jacqueline Bendrick (-4) is tied for 10th after two rounds. On Saturday, she fired a 69 with consecutive birdies on No. 15 and No. 16, scoring five total birdies for the day. Junior Haylee Harford (-3) also added a 69 with three birdies on Saturday to enter Sunday's final round tied for 15th.
Sophomore Marra Burton played as an individual, along with freshmen Caitlin Cotterill and Madison Moosa. Burton (+5) scored a 73 with three birdies, including back-to-back birdies on No. 10 and No. 11, to tie for 56th. Moosa (+6) carded an even 72 with four birdies to tie for 61st, and Cotterill (+15) added an 81 to tie for 81st.
The Paladins (-26) hold a nine-stroke lead over No. 35 Clemson (-17). Eleventh-ranked Michigan State (-15) is in third place, followed by No. 46 Ohio State (-10). No. 30 Vanderbilt (-3) and No. 31 Wisconsin (-3) are tied for fifth.
The 54-hole tournament will conclude on Sunday. Teams will tee off of No. 1 and No. 10 beginning at 8 a.m. The Paladins will tee off of No. 1 beginning at 9:30 a.m. and play in a group with Clemson and Michigan State. Results and live tournament scoring are available via www.FurmanPaladins.com and www.golfstat.com.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
1 Furman 277 273 550 -26
1 Reona Hirai 67 68 135 -9
T3 Alice Chen 70 67 137 -7
T7 Natalie Srinivasan 69 69 138 -6
T10 Jacqueline Bendrick 71 69 140 -4
T15 Haylee Harford 72 69 141 -3
T56 Marra Burton* 76 73 149 +5
T61 Madison Moosa* 78 72 150 +6
T81 Caitlin Cotterill* 78 81 159 +15
*-playing as an individual