HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Senior Reona Hirai (+5) took the individual lead and No. 8 Furman (+27), three-time defending Southern Conference champion, extended its lead to 22 strokes after Monday's second round of play at the Southern Conference Women's Golf Championship at the par-72, 6,105 yard Moss Creek Golf Club's South Course on Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Seeking their 17th title, the Paladins, who fought a driving wind throughout Monday's round, have all five players among the top eight, including Hirai, who birdied two of her last three holes to card a 74 in round two and take a three-stroke lead entering Tuesdays' final round.
Sophomore Natalie Srinivasan (+8) is tied for second after shooting a 78 with a team-high three birdies on Monday, while senior Alice Chen (+9) added a 78 with a birdie on No. 6 to enter the final round in fourth place. Junior Haylee Harford (+10) rebounded with a 74 on Monday, notching birdies on No. 3 and No. 7, and is tied for fifth place. Senior Jacqueline Bendrick (+12) enters the final round tied for eighth after scoring an 81 with a birdie on No. 6 during Monday's second round.
Chattanooga (+49) and Mercer (+49) are tied for second, while UNC Greensboro (+70) and Samford (+70) are tied for fourth after two rounds of play.
The final round of the 54-hole tournament will begin at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, with teams teeing off of No. 1 and No. 10. Furman will tee off of No. 1 beginning at 8:50 a.m. and play in a group with Chattanooga and Mercer. The winner of the SoCon Championship will earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Fans can follow live scoring for the tournament by logging onto www.BirdieFire.com.
2018 Southern Conference Women's Golf Championship
Moss Creek Golf Club - South Course
Par-72, 6,105 yards
Hilton Head Island, S.C.
1 Furman 301 302 603 +27
1 Reona Hirai 75 74 149 +5
T2 Natalie Srinivasan 74 78 152 +8
4 Alice Chen 77 76 153 +9
T5 Haylee Harford 80 74 154 +10
T8 Jacqueline Bendrick 75 81 156 +12