TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Natalie Srinivasan (-7) fired a 65, tying the best round in school history, to finish the day in second among the individuals and lead seventh-ranked Furman (-8) into the clubhouse in second place Monday following the opening round of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional at the par-72, 6,342 yard Don Veller Seminole Golf Club in Tallahassee, Fla.
A sophomore from Spartanburg, S.C., Srinivasan played flawless golf on Monday, birdieing three out of four holes from No. 5 through No. 8 to make the turn at three-under then adding an additional four birdies, including consecutive birdies on No. 17 and No. 18, to tie the previous Furman record and matches the Paladins' best round in the NCAAs, both set by Caroline Peek Blaylock in 1995. She finished the round two strokes back of Washington's Wenyung Keh (-9), who set a course record with an opening-round 63.
"Natalie played a great round of golf, shooting 65," said Furman head coach Jeff Hull following the round. "She has been really close to going low like this, so it was great to see her put it together."
Senior Alice Chen (-2) enters Tuesday's second round tied for 10th after scoring a 70 in round one. Chen birdied No. 2 and No. 4 to make the turn at one-under, then added birdies on No. 14 and No. 17 on the back. Senior Jacqueline Bendrick (-1) is tied for 16th after carding a 71 with four birdies, including back-to-back birdies on No. 14 and No. 15.
Senior Reona Hirai (+2) notched a 74 with three birdies on the back nine to tie for 42nd after one round, and junior Haylee Harford (+3) is tied for 53rd after recording a 75 with three birdies on Monday.
"I am very pleased with the way we started the regional," added Hull. "Eight-under par is a solid start and puts us in a good position with two rounds to play. I am excited for the next two days of competition."
No. 15 Washington (-15) leads the field after establishing a new course record with a 273 in round one. The Paladins enter Tuesday's second round in second place, with second-ranked Alabama (-6) two strokes back in third. There are three teams tied for fourth, including 29th-ranked Clemson (-3), No. 39 Tennessee (-3), and 18th-ranked Wake Forest (-3).
The Paladins, who will tee off of No. 1 at 9:50 a.m. on Tuesday and play in a group with Washington and Alabama, are part of an 18-team regional field is battling for a top six finish and a berth in the 24-team NCAA Championship, which will be held May 18-23 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Tallahassee Regional field includes six of the top 25 teams in the country led by second-ranked Alabama, No. 7 Furman, 10th-ranked Arizona, No. 15 Washington, No. 18 Wake Forest, and 22nd-ranked Vanderbilt.
Furman, which secured the Southern Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by capturing its 17th SoCon Championship last month at Moss Creek Country Club on Hilton Head Island, S.C., is making its fourth-consecutive and 22nd overall NCAA Regional appearance. The Paladins appeared in 18-straight regionals from 1993, when the regional format began, until 2010. Furman finished second last season at the NCAA Lubbock Regional in Lubbock, Texas, and went on to place 12th at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
2 Furman 280 -8
2 Natalie Srinivasan 65 -7
T10 Alice Chen 70 -2
T16 Jacqueline Bendrick 71 -1
T42 Reona Hirai 74 +2
T53 Haylee Harford 75 +3