GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Furman women's golf team is tied for seventh after the completion of the first round of the 44th Lady Paladin Invitational at the par-72, 6,313-yard Furman University Golf Course in Greenville, S.C.
Furman junior Taylor Totland (+3) recorded birdies on No. 8 and No. 13 to tie for 24th with an opening round 75. Sophomore Alice Chen (+4), senior Valentina Romero (+4), and freshman Haylee Harford (+4) all carded a 76 on Sunday to enter the second round tied for 40th. Chen led the Paladins with four birdies on Sunday, including three on the back nine, while Harford added birdies on No. 5 and the par-3 No. 14. Rookie Annika Bovender (+6) tallied a 78 in her first round of collegiate play.
Sophomores Jacqueline Bendrick (+5) and Reona Hirai (+5) each scored a 77 on Sunday, playing as individuals. The Paladin duo is tied for 46th, while junior Macy McRaney (+8) is also playing as an individual and is tied for 71st after the opening round.
"We did not play our best today, but we are hoping for a strong round tomorrow," said Furman head coach Kelley Hester. "It was great to have such support here at our home tournament from so many fans and volunteers today."
Clemson (+2) leads the field after carding an opening round 290. New Mexico (+3) is one stroke back, followed by Wake Forest (+4) in third. Missouri (+5) is fourth after one round of play, while North Carolina (+9) rounds out the top five. Virginia Tech (+10) landed in sixth place in its first day of competition in the history of its women's golf program, followed by the Paladins (+15), who are tied with ETSU (+15) after Sunday's round.
Clemson freshman Alice Hewson (-5) paced the field with an opening round 67, breaking the Lady Paladin record for best opening round total by one stroke, to grab a three-stroke lead over Missouri's Michelle Butler (-2).
The teams at this year's tournament are again participating in Birdies for Water to benefit Golf Fore Africa, a 501 (c)(3) founded in 2006 by Furman golf alumna and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King. To date GFA has raised over 2.5 million dollars to fund projects in Rwanda, Lesotho, Kenya, Mali, Niger, and Zambia. Currently Golf Fore Africa is raising two million dollars to bring clean water, improved sanitation, and hygiene education to over 100 villages in rural Zambia.
Each team at the tournament has been invited to raise money by securing flat donations and pledges for each birdie their team members record during the tournament, with a goal of raising $30,000. Last year teams at the Lady Paladin Invitational raised almost $30,000, with the Furman team raising over $10,000, eclipsing the tournament goal of $15,000, the amount needed to bring clean water, improved sanitation, and hygiene education to one village.
To sponsor the Furman women's golf team in this endeavor, go to http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/furman-paladins/lady-paladin-invitationals-birdies-for-water-event or e-mail Hester at Kelley.Hester@Furman.edu.
Second round play is set to tee off at 8:51 a.m. on Monday with final round play slated for Tuesday. Furman will tee off of No. 1 at 8:51 a.m. on Monday.
Admission to the tournament is free and fans are welcome. Results and live tournament scoring are available via www.FurmanPaladins.com and www.birdiefire.com.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
T7 Furman 303 +15
T24 Taylor Totland 75 +3
T40 Alice Chen 76 +4
T40 Valentina Romero 76 +4
T40 Haylee Harford 76 +4
T59 Annika Bovender 78 +6
T46 Jacqueline Bendrick* 77 +5
T46 Reona Hirai* 77 +5
T71 Macy McRaney* 80 +8
* - playing as an individual